Naomi Osaka details how she moved past one thing since making post-pregnancy return

Osaka wants to return to the top but she is now having a different approach and attitude.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Naomi Osaka details how she moved past one thing since making post-pregnancy return
© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

Naomi Osaka made a very interesting point following her Wimbledon first-round win as the former world No. 1 explained how she has accepted that being the same player from the past probably isn't possible anymore but that it doesn't mean that she can't become a better player in the future if she improves her game the way she would like. 

Before stepping away from pro tennis last year due to pregnancy, Osaka struggled during the 2021 and 2022 seasons but she still achieved major success very early in her career after winning four Grand Slams and becoming the top-ranked player in the world by the age of 23. 

Since launching her post-pregnancy comeback, the 26-year-old Japanese has made it clear numerous times that her goal is to get back to winning Grand Slams and being one of the top players in the world once again. 

In the past, Osaka was absolutely a dominant force and one of the best in the world. But her old winning formula might be a bit outdated as the 26-year-old says she is done with "revisiting the past" and is now focused on adding some new things to her game so it can help her in her bid to get back to where she once was. 

“It’s funny because when I was first coming back from pregnancy, I thought I was going to train exactly the same way and play the same. But I think that’s the cool thing about life, that I don’t have to constantly revisit the past. That puts a lot of pressure on me. The way I want to play now is an evolution of how I played before,” Osaka said in her post-match press conference.

“I know I need the results to back it up, but I think certain aspects of my game are better. I just need to put the pieces together. As an athlete in general, I think I could be a little bit better now because I used to get injured and parts of my body would hurt. I don’t have any pain anymore because of the way I train."

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey
 

Osaka admits to feeling 'really fun and really stressful' in her Wimbledon return 

On Monday, Osaka made her first appearance at The All England Club since 2019. And by beating Diane Parry 6-1 1-6 6-4, Osaka made a winning return but also got her first Wimbledon win since 2018.

When the match started, Osaka was firing winners from all sides and absolutely dominating Parry. But then, the former world No. 1 missed out on some early break points at the start of the second set and it ruined her moment as Parry took advantage of it to take the match into a decider.

In the third set, Osaka was twice down by a break but both times managed to recover and ultimately win. Osaka, who entered Wimbledon ranked at No. 113 in the world, is now guaranteed to return to the top-100 after The Championships.

“I mean, for me, it felt really fun and really stressful at the same time. It was fun because the crowd was so engaged. It was just really fun. It felt like an arena. The match I think was a little up-and-down, but I think overall it was something that I can take a lot away from," Osaka explained.

“I feel like today honestly felt very hectic just because of the way she played. I felt that I had to constantly tell myself to be in control of the point. When she was slicing and stuff, it was a little stressful. I feel really relieved to have won this in three sets. I think it will do good for my character development. I’m just excited to play my next match.”

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey
 

Osaka explains what she wants to improve going forward

Throughout her career, Osaka has been a great server and that has always been one of the most important of her game. With that being said, many would think that Osaka's serve would be a major weapon on grass. 

But against Parry, Osaka had just five aces and she allowed Parry 12 break points - the Frenchwoman converted four of those opportunities. And going into her match against No. 19 seed Emma Navarro, the four-time Grand Slam champion underlined that her serve must improve. 

“I think my serve wasn’t the greatest today. I feel like I definitely should have had a higher percentage. Ironically I felt like I returned pretty well. There were certain games where the score didn’t show that, but I felt like I was continuously putting pressure on her," Osaka added.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey
 

Navarro, who is having her breakthrough season, reached the Bad Homburg semifinal last week and Osaka will certainly have to be at her best if she wants to beat the 23-year-old American in her next Wimbledon match.

Naomi Osaka
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