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Rejuvenated Osaka to play full schedule in 2024, starting with Australian Open

The 25-year-old gave birth to her first child in July and said her time away has restored her love for the sport

Naomi Osaka Press Conference Naomi Osaka Press Conference

Naomi Osaka says she’s on track to play the Australian Open in January and plans to play more events in 2024 than she used.

Osaka announced in January of this year that she was pregnant, and gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Shai, in July.

Osaka was back at the US Open on Thursday for a press conference on mental health with Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps and gave an interview to ESPN, confirming that she has a plan for 2024.

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka said. “I think some people will be happy with that.

“I realised that I don’t how the beginning of the year’s going to go for me. I don’t know the level of play and I think I kind of have to ease into it. So at the very least I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year.”

“It made me realise I’m not going to play forever”

Osaka said being away from the sport made her realise how much she still wanted to play the game.

“I just remember watching the Australian Open and being very devastated, because I’ve never missed an Australian Open,” she said in the press conference.

“I was just thinking, okay, when I was watching Serena and Venus (Williams), I was thinking, ah, I probably no way will ever play at their age, but sitting here, I’m like, you know what? I might do that actually.

“For me personally, it really raised my love for the sport. It made me realise 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 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.”

Osaka inspired by fellow mothers

And Osaka said she was also inspired by the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina and other women who have returned to the sport recently after having children.

“We’re probably going to form a group chat or something,” she said. “But it’s really good to see everyone playing well again and to see familiar faces.”

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