First-time mother Naomi Osaka is sharing her plans to return to professional tennis in 2024. As The Shade Room previously reported, the 25-year-old recently gave birth to a daughter whom she shares with rapper Cordae in July.
Naomi Osaka Details Her Return Plans
The new mother sat down for an exclusive interview with ESPN, published Wednesday. During the conversation, the 25-year-old confirmed her plans to return to the professional sport in 2024. However, she also revealed that she intends to participate in “way more tournaments” than previously.
“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka told the outlet. “I think some people will be happy with that.”
When questioned about her choice to play in more tournaments next year, Osaka explained that she wants to “ease” into things. Additionally, she said she wants to set herself up for a “very good end of the year.”
“I think it’s because I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of play, and I think I have to ease into it,” she explained. “So, at the very least, I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year.”
The 25-Year-Old Spoke On Missing Tennis Amid Motherhood
According to CNN, Osaka has not competed in the professional sport since September 2022 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. In speaking with ESPN, the 25-year-old shared how much she “definitely” missed the sport.
Additionally, she explained that motherhood has “really fueled a fire” in her.
“I’ve been watching matches, and I’m like, ‘I wish I was playing too,'” Osaka explained. “But I’m in this position now, and I’m very grateful. I really love my daughter a lot, but I think it really fueled a fire in me.”
Naomi Osaka Details Appreciating “A Lot Of Things” She Once “Took For Granted”
Earlier on Wednesday, the 25-year-old appeared at the US Open in Flushing, New York.
Our 2x champ Naomi Osaka is back in the house! 🏠 pic.twitter.com/RF4egwONx8
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2023
Additionally, she participated in a mental health forum during the event alongside former competitive swimming legend Michael Phelps, the US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and more.
During the panel, she further discussed her time away from the sport and how she now appreciates her career more.
“It really raised my love for the sport. It made me realize I’m not going to play forever,” she explained. “I have to embrace the times. I’ve been playing tennis since I was three. I don’t think I can predict what I’ll do. I never can do that, but it made me appreciate many things that I took for granted.”
Furthermore, the 25-year-old provided further context for her newfound appreciation by reflecting on her pregnancy.
“I actually felt lonely during my pregnancy just because I felt like I wasn’t able to do a lot of things.”
As The Shade Room previously reported, Osaka is wasting no time getting herself prepared for her return, recently showing off her workouts on social media.
Roomies, please join us in sending support to new mother Naomi Osaka!