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Naomi Osaka back to training just 15 days after giving birth to daughter
The former world No. 1 has made it clear that next year's Australian Open is her comeback target, and she's already training again after "a cool little intermission."
Published Jul 20, 2023
WATCH: Everything We Know About Naomi Osaka's Daughter | The Break
Naomi Osaka has said that next year’s Australian Open is her comeback target, and on Thursday the new mom made her biggest statement of intent by showing she’s already started training.
The former world No. 1 has been away from the tennis courts since September, and gave birth a few weeks ago to baby girl Shai. Osaka’s partner Cordae, a Grammy nominated rapper, shared her name with the public for the first time during a recent performance at NF’s HOPE Tour.
Just 15 days later, Osaka is already getting back to work. The 25-year-old was seen doing training drills at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, in a video shared to social media by Haitian media personality Wendell Theodore on Thursday.
Osaka withdrew from the Australian Open just days before the year’s first Grand Slam was due to start. In her next Instagram post, Osaka revealed the reason why as she shared news of her pregnancy, also promising fans an eventual comeback.
"I realize that life is so short and I don't take any moments for granted, every day is a new blessing and adventure,” she wrote. “I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future…
“One thing I'm looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, 'That's my mom.’"
Osaka won two of her four Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open, including her most recent one in 2021. She took several mental health-related breaks from the sport that year, and struggled to find her best tennis in 2022 before sitting out the current season altogether.
In an interview with Vogue, Osaka recently revealed that all the time away from the courts has only served to fuel her motivation.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity [to play] again,” she said, in her first interview since giving birth.
“I’ve been playing tennis since I was three, and I think it’s one of those things where I needed to take a step back to appreciate it more. I also just really want to see fans again. During COVID, the distance hit me really hard.”
Osaka is currently ranked No. 439. Since 2018, a WTA player returning from maternity leave is allowed three years to use her special ranking.