Iga Swiatek shows major respect for Naomi Osaka, reveals what she has heard

Swiatek addresses Osaka's comeback to tennis.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Iga Swiatek shows major respect for Naomi Osaka, reveals what she has heard
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Iga Swiatek says she is "really happy" that Naomi Osaka is back and showed major appreciation and respect for the Japanese by highlighting that she was one of the toughest opponents out there during her best form. 

Osaka, a former world No. 1, had just turned 23 when she lifted her fourth Grand Slam title at the 2021 Australian Open. But then, Osaka started to struggle with mental health, motivation, and her passion and joy for the game diminished. 

After not playing much during the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Osaka also missed the entire 2023 season due to pregnancy. On Monday, Osaka made a winning return to tennis as she saw off Tamara Korpatsch 6-3 7-6 (9) in the Brisbane International first round.

"I mean her tennis has always been great. She had plenty (of) ups and downs, but when she was playing great it was hard to win against her. She won two slams in two years. Really amazing. She showed that it's possible," Swiatek said of Osaka at the United Cup. 

Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka
Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Vaughn Ridley
 

What Swiatek has heard about Osaka?

Since publicly opening up about her mental health during the 2021 French Open, Osaka has become one of the biggest ambassadors for athletes' good mental health. When addressing Osaka's return at the United Cup, Swiatek revealed that she has "heard that Osaka is really feeling well off the court" now. 

Against Osaka, four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek has played two times. When they met for the first time in 2019 Toronto, Osaka claimed a 7-6 (4) 6-4 win. Three years later, Swiatek got her revenge after beating Osaka 6-4 6-0 in the 2022 Miami final. 

Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka
Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman
 

If Osaka manages in her goal to return to the top of tennis, there will certainly be many more meetings between the Japanese and Swiatek. The first meeting between Osaka and Swiatek could potentially come at the Australian Open. 

Iga Swiatek Naomi Osaka
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