Ex top-10 details why Naomi Osaka could be tricky for an Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka is set to return to tennis after taking maternity leave in 2023.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ex top-10 details why Naomi Osaka could be tricky for an Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka
© Getty Images Sport - Quinn Rooney

Barbara Schett believes Naomi Osaka could make a really strong post-pregnancy return as the Austrian former top-10 player thinks the Japanese could potentially be a very tricky opponent for "an Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka or Elena Rybakina."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, who announced the birth of her daughter Shai in July, is returning to tennis in the first week of 2024 in Brisbane. Even before giving birth, Osaka was speaking about how heavily motivated and determined she would be to return to the top of tennis in 2024. After welcoming her first child, Osaka underlined that she would be playing for her daughter in her return and that winning Grand Slams and returning to the world No 1 spot would be her goals. 

Now that Osaka is a mother and is returning to tennis refreshed, Schett believes that can only help the former world No. 1 play more relaxed. 

Schett thinks Osaka could make a major post-pregnancy comeback 

“I was very excited [to see her back] because she is a global star. She has won Grand Slam titles, and I think she's still young enough to have a second career. Also, her approach might be different now because she's had a baby. We’ve seen it a lot from other players that it gets the better out of them because they're just a little bit more relaxed. I think she still has a lot of tennis in her. I've seen a few videos of the way she was practicing; she's looking fit. We know that she can hit the ball extremely hard, so pace is not going to be a problem at all. And one thing is for sure, an Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka or Elena Rybakina, does not want to play against somebody like Naomi Osaka. The pressure will be on for them," Schett told Eurosport

Osaka, who turned 26 in October, was one of the top players in the game just a few years ago. But then, Osaka started to experience mental health problems and started to play less. Many believe that if Osaka really returns motivated and determined, she can easily regain her old form and return to being one of the best in the game. 

Naomi Osaka Iga Swiatek Aryna Sabalenka