Naomi Osaka is making a guest appearance at the US Open as the four-time Grand Slam champion is set to speak in a mental health forum alongside American swimming icon Michael Phelps.
Osaka, who lifted her first Grand Slam title at the 2018 US Open and also won the tournament in 2020, is not competing at Flushing Meadows for the first time since making her main draw debut at the tournament in 2016.
Our 2x champ Naomi Osaka is back in the house!
In July, Osaka announced the birth of her first child. Osaka. who won't play any tournaments in 2023, is targeting to make a comeback to pro tennis at the start of 2024 season in Australia.
Osaka aims a major comeback
Osaka, who will be turning 26 in October, hasn't played since 2022 September.
During her pregnancy and extended time away from pro tennis, Osaka realized that she still very much loves tennis and that she still wants to achieve more major things. In one of her interviews after giving birth, Osaka admitted earlier in her career she thought she would be done with tennis after welcoming a kid.
But now that she is a mother, Osaka is extremely motivated to do well and be an inspiration to her child. "Actually, there was a lot of pressure I felt for me. For me, I always had the assumption that if you have a kid, it’s basically the end of your career.
I don’t really see a lot of women on the tennis tour with kids. They are usually a bit older, and it just seems like a very hard taxing on your body. I just never really thought if I had a kid, I’d go back on the tour.
But I feel like it was a magical moment for me. It just made me think of all the things I love and appreciate and it just made me really want to work hard. I’ve played tennis since I was three and I want to appreciate the time that I can still play.
In my head, I wondered why guys younger than me or around the same age as me are able to have kids and they’re kind of just walking around like ‘Everything is fine!’. And it irritated me a lot because I was more accomplished than them.
They weren’t dealing with any of the repercussions that women have if they need to have a kid so that kind of softened the pressure for me," Osaka said on the Mountaintop Conversation podcast.