Brad Gilbert believes if everything falls into place Naomi Osaka "can easily" get back to winning Grand Slams and a top-3 ranking. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, announced her pregnancy in January. In 2023, 25-year-old Osaka will focus on her pregnancy and she is expected to return to tennis next year.
Gilbert acknowledged that Osaka's talent is off the charts and that's why the Japanese can definitely be a strong force when she returns after giving birth. "We've seen some players come back after having a baby. I think she has the skillset to be able to come back.
It's just finding that love and balance for being there. I think if she can find all of that, I think she can easily get back in the top three in the world and win Majors again," Gilbert said on The Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast, as quoted on Sportskeeda.
Osaka announced the happy news on January 11th
After not signing up to play in any tournaments at the start of year, Osaka also withdrew from the Australian Open. Osaka withdrawing from the Australian Open led to some speculating whether the former world No 1 was done with pro tennis.
But then, Osaka took to Instagram, where she announced her pregnancy. In her pregnancy announcement, Osaka also confirmed her plans to return to the Australian Open in 2024. "The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it's the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun.
These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game l've dedicated my life to. I realize that life is so short and I don't take any moments for granted, everyday is a new blessing and adventure.
I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I'm looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, 'that's my mom', haha. 2023 will be a year that'll be full of lessons for me and I hope I'll see you guys in the start of the next one cause I'll be at Aus 2024," Osaka announced on January 11th.