Naomi Osaka makes important move ahead of planned 2024 comeback



by DZEVAD MESIC

Naomi Osaka makes important move ahead of planned 2024 comeback
Naomi Osaka makes important move ahead of planned 2024 comeback © Getty Images Sport - Michael Reaves

Naomi Osaka is getting the band back ahead of her comeback to tennis as the former world No 1 has rehired performance coach Florian Zitzelsberger. Osaka, 26, hasn't played since 2022 September, when she competed at a WTA 500 tournament in Tokyo.

This season, Osaka missed all of the action due to pregnancy. Osaka, who announced the birth of her child in July, recently brought back coach WIm Fisette to her team. After Fisette, Osaka also contacted performance coach Zitzelsberger and the two agreed to work together again.

Osaka's goal is to return at the start of the 2024 season in Australia. "It's an interesting journey for me because the work we started was not quite finished. Now we have the chance. Naomi is a pure talent, quite unbelievable.

But still, I see a lot of athletic potential that we can work on. First and foremost, she has to stay healthy, but on the other side, there is so much potential to nurture, strengthen and conquer," Zitzelsberger told WTA Insider.

Zitzelsberger explains his role in Osaka's team

Throughout the year, four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka has been saying that she wants to do great things in her post-pregnancy comeback to tennis. In order to add more Slam success to her name and accomplish her future goals, Osaka will need to be at the very best in the fitness and physical aspect.

Osaka has big plans and Zitzelsberger's responsibility will be to make sure the Japanese is in exceptional shape iand always ready to go out there and compete. "With Naomi, I am the head of health and performance. I'm a strength and conditioning coach, athletic coach, a physiotherapist and an osteopath.

I analyze the biomechanics and work to improve the tennis-specific biomechanics. From there, I also cover nutrition, which is fundamental for building and maintaining a strong, athletic body. And being an osteopath, I always try to balance out the whole body and being through my treatments.

When I'm treating as an osteopath, I'm not treating myofascial muscles or joints. I'm one layer deeper. I'm treating organs, nerves and arteries," Zitzelsberger explained. Osaka hasn't yet officially confirmed where her comeback will start but it is known that the Japanese will compete at the Australian Open.

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