Ex-Slam semifinalist addresses Naomi Osaka's post-pregnancy chances

Osaka set to return to tennis as a mom.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ex-Slam semifinalist addresses Naomi Osaka's post-pregnancy chances
© Getty Images Sport - Sarah Stier

Former six-time Grand Slam semifinalist Tim Henman says it is "massively exciting" to have Naomi Osaka returning to tennis as the Briton hopes the Japanese returning with a new perspective will positively impact her tennis.

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, missed the entire 2023 season after giving birth in July. Ahead of her comeback, Osaka underlined that becoming a mother gave her a new perspective on her life and career. Also, 26-year-old Osaka highlighted several times that her daughter Shai will be her biggest motivation to do well in her return.

If Osaka indeed rediscovers the passion and game that landed her four Slams early in her career, Henman believes the former world No 1 could definitely do some major things.

Henman on Osaka returning to tennis

“I think it's massively exciting to have Osaka coming back because she just played such incredible tennis in the Slams.

But she obviously had her struggles mentally, and to have been away from the court and now to be the mother of a child, I think inevitably that's going to give you a different perspective. I really hope that it gives her the platform, the sort of foundation mentally, to go out on the court and compete and perhaps understand that, yes, she's going to try her hardest and she's going to play her best tennis, but it's not the most important thing in the world.

When the pressure is slightly off from within, then I think when you get that type of freedom, you can play some of your best tennis. If she can be on the court playing with a smile on her face and showing her abilities, her ball striking, and the tennis that we've seen in the past, then she's a huge addition to world tennis," Henman told Eurosport.

Osaka's comeback will start at the Brisbane International and the Japanese will then go to the Australian Open, where she is a two-time champion.

Naomi Osaka