Naomi Osaka is able to serve up extra success on the tennis court docket practically two months after welcoming her first child.
“It’s undoubtedly far more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka, 25, advised ESPN on Wednesday, September 6, of her sports activities schedule for 2024. “So, I feel some folks will probably be proud of that.”
Osaka additional teased that her video games will embrace matches “down underneath,” seemingly referring to the Australian Open, earlier than explaining why she set a rigorous coaching plan.
“I feel it’s as a result of I spotted that I don’t know the way the start of the yr goes to go for me,” she advised the outlet. “I don’t know the extent of play and I feel I’ve to ease into it. So on the very least, I’m going to set myself up for an excellent finish of the yr.”
Osaka hasn’t performed in an expert match since September 2022. She introduced in January that she and her boyfriend, rapper Cordae, have been anticipating their first child. Their daughter, Shai, was born in July.
Whereas Osaka has loved absorbing all her new child’s milestones, she advised ESPN that she “undoubtedly” misses taking part in tennis.
“I’ve been watching matches and kinda wishing that I used to be taking part in too, however I’m on this place now and I’m very grateful,” she mentioned on Wednesday. “I actually love my daughter rather a lot, however I feel it actually fueled a fireplace in me.”
Osaka later teased her intense coaching exercises throughout an interview with Leisure Tonight.
“Actually, I’ve been athletic or been taking part in sports activities since I used to be 3, so it’s like part of my life,” she mentioned on the Victoria’s Secret crimson carpet occasion on Wednesday evening. “I went to the [US] Open earlier at present and it simply introduced me a lot inspiration. So I’m very excited. It’s made me much more grateful. Simply lots of little issues I took without any consideration, now I’m sort of it and since I can’t play competitively proper now, it’s actually making me itch to return again.”
Osaka, who has received 4 Grand Slam championships in her profession, beforehand took a step again from the sport in 2021 to prioritize her psychological well being.
“Life is a journey,” she penned in a private essay for TIME journal in July 2021. “Prior to now few weeks, my journey took an surprising path however one which has taught me a lot and helped me develop. I realized a few key classes. Lesson one: You possibly can by no means please everybody. … Once I mentioned I wanted to overlook French Open press conferences to care for myself mentally, I ought to have been ready for what unfolded.”
She continued on the time: “I all the time attempt to push myself to talk up for what I imagine to be proper, however that always comes at a value of nice anxiousness. I really feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete psychological well being because it’s nonetheless so new to me and I don’t have all of the solutions. I do hope that individuals can relate and perceive it’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to speak about it. There are individuals who will help, and there may be often mild on the finish of any tunnel.”