Naomi Osaka is getting ready to make her anticipated comeback to tennis. The 25-year-old tennis star said she wants to start competing again in 2024.
“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” she told ESPN about her schedule for next year. “So, I think some people will be happy with that.”
Osaka hasn’t been on the court since September 2022. In January, she and rapper Cordae announced they were expecting a child. They had a daughter, Shai, in July. Osaka announced she was back to her regular training schedule after giving birth.
Osaka told the news outlet that she misses tennis. She supported her fellow tennis players by attending U.S. Open matches earlier this week.
“I’ve been watching matches and kinda wishing that I was playing too, but I’m in this position now, and I’m very grateful,” she said. “I really love my daughter a lot, but I think it really fueled a fire in me.”
Stepping away from tennis was an experience Osaka was not used to.
“I definitely only know this world, the tennis world, and just being away from that for a long time, it was new for me,” she said. “I think it was just the whole new situation and not being able to train like I wanted to.”
View this post on Instagram
The tennis player said the physical restrictions of pregnancy affected her mental health.
“It kind of made me feel like I just had to stay at home and, you know how doctors tell you not to travel after a certain amount of weeks, it just felt like a lot of restrictions. I think that was what it was,” she said.
Ultimately, Osaka and Cordae are buzzing with happiness because of their daughter’s birth.
“Shai means God’s gift, and I think that’s what I wanted her to feel like — she was a gift to me and her dad. She’s spreading a lot of joy already, so it’s very exciting,” Osaka gushed.