Naomi Osaka Shares Message of Gratitude Alongside the Sweetest Clip From Childhood

The tennis champion is ready for a return to professional play.
Naomi Osaka poses in a graphic tee, black ball cap and oversized hoops and smiles for the camera.

Naomi Osaka.

Naomi Osaka is preparing for a comeback in every sense of the word. The Japanese professional tennis player, who took a leave from professional tennis in 2023 to have her first child, has been planning her return since she announced her pregnancy. Her intention was to return in 2024, and—with that in mind—she found herself back on the court a mere two weeks after her daughter was born.

She’s proven herself physically prepared for a return in January, beginning, hopefully, with an appearance at the Australian Open, the first major of the season. But, more importantly, Osaka has also proven herself mentally prepared.

Osaka shared a message of gratitude with her Instagram following recently, putting her fortitude and positive attitude on display. “For everyone that supported me throughout the years, thank you,” she wrote. “Thank you for believing in me and thank you for putting up with me. I know we’ve shared some really amazing memories and I also know that I’ve done some things that I wish I would’ve handled differently (lol). Regardless of all that, thank you for allowing me to grow up on my own time and thank you for showing me a ton of patience. I don’t know what I did to deserve you all but I’m so extremely grateful.”

Alongside the heartfelt message, the athlete shared the sweetest clip of her younger self eating lunch in the school cafeteria and flashing a cute smile for the camera.

Her message was clear: she’s locked in and ready for what’s to come. And we’re ready to watch her again.

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Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.