Two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka said she is planning to return to professional tennis at the start of the next season in Australia.
The 25-year-old Japanese has not played since the Toray Pan Pacific Open in September 2022. She stepped away from the game in January and gave birth to her daughter, Shai, in July.
The former No.1, who was at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to participate in the US Open’s forum on mental health with swimming legend Michael Phelps, hopes to kick off her comeback at 2024 Australian Open and plans to play a more WTA Tour schedule as she eases back into the game.
“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka said in an interview with ESPN. “So I think some people will be happy with that.”
“I think it’s because I realised that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of play and I think I have to ease into it. So at the very least, I’ll set myself up for a very good end of the year.”
After the forum, Osaka headed to Arthur Ashe Stadium to take in the men’s quarterfinal between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. The four-time major champion admitted she is champing at the bit to get back into competition.
“It’d be cool if (my daughter) was proud of me. I also want her to be old enough to see me playing on the court and think, ‘Wow that’s my Mom’.”
Osaka has won four Grand Slam singles titles by securing victory at the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021, as well as the US Open in 2018 and 2020.