Performance coach gets brutally honest on Naomi Osaka's post-pregnancy targets

Osaka set to make her post-pregnancy comeback in 2024.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Performance coach gets brutally honest on Naomi Osaka's post-pregnancy targets
© Getty Images Sport - Quinn Rooney

Performance coach Florian Zitzelsberger claims Naomi Osaka is "super motivated" to return to winning Grand Slams and get back to the world No 1 ranking post-pregnancy. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion and a former world No 1, didn't play a single tournament in 2023 after previously announcing pregnancy in January.

Osaka, 26, gave birth in July and she is set to play again in January. Ahead of her planned comeback, Osaka rehired coach Wim Fisette and then also got back to working with performance coach Zitzelsberger. "She’s super motivated and I’m super pumped to help her.

She inspires the whole team with this champion mindset: she just wants to go for it. I’m hoping her opponents will read this and get a little bit afraid of her! Where she is today is what makes working with her so inspiring.

She wants to get back to world No 1, she wants to win Grand Slams," Zitzelsberger told Tennis Channel.

Zitzelsberger's goal is to help Osaka reach her post-pregnancy targets

Osaka, who turned 26 last month, is still relatively young and in her prime.

Being out for an extended period is never a great thing and Zitzelsberger acknowledges there is a lot of work to be done to help Osaka reach her fitness peak. However, Zitzelsberger is confident that Osaka can gradually return to her top form physically.

“She’s obviously a great offense player, but I think things have changed in the game over the last half-decade where defense is getting more and more important. We’re working to make Naomi into a player who can transition more effectively from defense to offense.

That way, even if she’s getting pushed into a defensive position, she can still strike an offensive shot. To reach the highest performance, we start by returning stability within the kinetic chain, which is typically lost somewhat during pregnancy and birth.

The kinetic chain runs through the core, stomach and belly, and for a long time, her chain wasn’t playing tennis; it was growing a baby!” Zitzelsberger explained.

Naomi Osaka
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