Misc Tennis

Osaka on New Perspective and 2024 Plan

Osaka on New Perspective and 2024 Plan

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, September 7, 2023

NEW YORK—Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Time away from tennis  has pumped passion Naomi Osaka has for the sport infusing her with fresh perspective ahead of her return.

Murray: Major Runs May Be Done

Former world No. 1 Osaka plans to launch her major comeback at the 2024 Australian Open and is aiming to play a full schedule, at least in the early stages of 2024, because “I don’t know how I’ll do.”

“For me personally, it really raised my love for the sport,” Osaka said of her time away from tennis. “It made me realize, like, I’m not going to play forever. I have to embrace the times. I’ve been playing tennis since I was three.

“I don’t know. I don’t think I can predict what I’ll do. I never am able to do that, but it definitely made me appreciate a lot of things that I took for granted.”

The 25-year-old Osaka gave birth to a baby girl, named Shai, on July 7th. Baby Shai is Naomi’s first child with her long-time partner, rapper Cordae.

Osaka return to the US Open on Wednesday, joining Olympic gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps, USTA chairman of the board and president Dr. Brian Hainline and Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the Surgeon General of the United States, in a US Open forum on mental health and sport.

The four-time Grand Slam champion, who has candidly discussed her battle with depression and mental illness in the past, said she felt deep loneliness at times during her pregnancy. Osaka credited her family, friends and support team with helping her cope with those feelings of isolation. 

“For me, I actually felt lonely during my pregnancy. Just because I felt like I wasn’t able to do a lot of things that I was normally able to do,” Osaka said. “I think it kind of goes back into, like, asking for help, too, for me.

“I learned a lot. Like, normally I’m thinking, like, I’m going to be an independent woman, and I’m not going to ask anyone for help and stuff like that. Just whenever something happens, just take it on the chin.”

Allowing herself to feel vulnerable and ask for help, Osaka said, was an essential step to strengthening her mental health during pregnancy.

“But then I got to a place where I needed to ask for help, and I wanted to, like, reach out and talk to people,” Osaka said. “I think, like, most of the time for me, like, I have a really good group of people around me, and they want to help, but I just never asked.

“So I think it…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Blog RSS…