Former No.1 Naomi Osaka plans a strong comeback in 2024
Naomi Osaka confirms her comeback for the 2024 US Open and plans to play a more robust schedule.
Naomi Osaka, the two-time US Open champion, has officially announced her return to the US Open in 2024. The 25-year-old tennis star took a break from the game in January after participating in the Toray Pan Pacific Open in September 2022. During her time away, Osaka gave birth to her daughter, Shai, in July. Now, she is eager to make a comeback and plans to kick off her return at the start of the next season in Australia.
In an interview with ESPN, Osaka revealed that she intends to play a more robust Hologic WTA Tour schedule as she eases back into the game. She acknowledged that she will be participating in more tournaments than she used to, which will please her fans. Osaka explained that she wants to take it slow at the beginning of the year, unsure of how her level of play will be after the hiatus. By playing more tournaments, she hopes to set herself up for a strong finish to the year.
Osaka made her return to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to participate in the US Open's forum on mental health, titled "Mental Health and Sport: Why It Matters." The forum aimed to destigmatize mental health and featured notable figures such as Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and USTA Chairman of the Board and NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline. Osaka openly discussed her experience with loneliness during her pregnancy, as she was unable to travel or maintain her regular routines.
When asked about balancing training and motherhood, Osaka emphasized the need for strategic time management. She acknowledged that every minute counts and that she is more conscious of how she presents herself. Osaka expressed her excitement and the weird feeling of knowing that someone relies on her. She frequently calls her mom for support and looks forward to her daughter growing up and experiencing the same bond.
Despite being away from the sport, Osaka continued to train during her pregnancy. She even had the opportunity to hit with tennis legends Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf. Osaka described the experience as nerve-wracking but praised their kindness and strictness. She expressed her desire to receive advice from Graf, highlighting her as a potential coach.
After the mental health forum, Osaka headed to Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch the men's quarterfinal match between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. The four-time major champion admitted her eagerness to return to competition and expressed her hope that her daughter would be proud of her. Osaka also shared her admiration for Coco Gauff's performance in the tournament, praising her as a role model.
When asked about her prediction for the tournament winner, Osaka drew from her own experience and emphasized that anyone can win at this level of competition. She reminded everyone that the players who reach the final are the best in the world and have earned their place on the court.
As Naomi Osaka prepares for her comeback, fans eagerly await her return to the tennis court. Her determination to balance motherhood and her career serves as an inspiration to many. With her talent and resilience, Osaka is poised to make a strong impact in the upcoming season and beyond.