Naomi Osaka opens up on new tennis perspective she has as mother



by DZEVAD MESIC

Naomi Osaka opens up on new tennis perspective she has as mother
© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Naomi Osaka underlined one of her main goals now is to be "a good role model for Shai" as the Japanese tennis star is determined to do extremely well in her post-pregnancy return. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, welcomed her first child in July.

After not playing since 2022 September, 26-year-old Osaka is returning to tennis at the start of the 2024 season in Brisbane. Osaka achieved major success before pregnancy but she didn't play much or win any titles after her 2021 Australian Open triumph.

“I've stepped away from tennis before, but this time, it was the longest duration of my life. And I think it kind of gave me a perspective like, 'Hey, you're not going to play tennis forever. And you kind of have to cherish the years that you can play.'

I do want to be a good role model for Shai, and I want her to see that this was an important chapter in my life," Osaka told InStyle.

Osaka on returning to tennis after giving birth

Ahead of her tennis comeback, Osaka acknowledged that she is privileged to be returning to her work when she feels ready.

"I’m fortunate to have the support to go back to work on my own terms, in my own time. So many American parents don’t have that choice, but we all deserve it. It has definitely motivated me to speak up about the lack of paid leave and to advocate for new moms in this country," Osaka said.

Meanwhile, Osaka described her baby Shai as someone who is always smiling. "She is so pure. Like every time she sees me, no matter what, she'll smile. And she's going in the phase now that she'll kind of reach out her arms a little bit," Osaka said. In the first week of the 2024 season, Osaka's return to tennis will certainly be one of the biggest storylines.

Naomi Osaka