Serena Williams' ex-coach issues huge statement on Naomi Osaka's comeback



by DZEVAD MESIC

Serena Williams' ex-coach issues huge statement on Naomi Osaka's comeback
© Getty Images Sport - Quinn Rooney

Patrick Mouratoglou believes Naomi Osaka's 2024 return is "the best news for women's tennis" as Serena Williams' former coach thinks the Japanese can challenge the current group of top players and do some big things. Osaka, who is a four-time Grand Slam champion and a former world No 1, missed the entire 2023 season due to pregnancy.

Osaka, 26, welcomed her first child in July and since then she has been preparing for her comeback, which starts at the Brisbane International between December 31 - January 07. Ahead of her comeback, Osaka has underlined several times that she will be extremely motivated and determined to win Grand Slams and achieve major success as her goal is to make her daughter proud.

"It's the best news for women's tennis. Now you have Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka - not that there are no others because of course there are many others, but those two are super-exciting. They are superstars, so they're great for the WTA.

The WTA needs superstars. We had so many great years with Serena, Venus (Williams) and Maria Sharapova, who are three really huge stars. It draws a lot of attention to women's tennis when you have players like that. So I'm very excited that Naomi comes back.

She's great," Mouratoglou told Eurosport.

Mouratoglou: Osaka will be competitive straight away

When Osaka returns to action, the 26-year-old will be playing her first tournament since 2022 September. Mouratoglou acknowledged Osaka may feel some rustiness in her first tournaments back but added he believes the Japanese will be "competitive" right from the start.

"She has such a huge game, huge shots. Having the mindset, the will and the shots, she can really do some damage. She will be ready for the Australian Open. She will just lack matches. We'll know quite fast if she's able to be competitive immediately or if she will need a bit more time to become competitive.

But I feel she will be competitive straight away," Mouratoglou said. At the Australian Open, Osaka is a two-time champion.

Serena Williams Naomi Osaka