Naomi Osaka Reveals Her Motivation for Returning to the Court So Soon After Giving Birth

The professional tennis player has her sights set on a big schedule—and an equally big return—this coming season.
Naomi Osaka poses in a black visor and smiles into the distance.

Naomi Osaka.

Naomi Osaka set down her tennis racquet soon after the 2022 US Open, the last Grand Slam of the season, and didn’t pick it up in the ’23 calendar year. Following the announcement of her pregnancy in January, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Shai, in July. And her break from the court ended soon after.

The professional tennis player revealed in an interview with Adweek that her leave from tennis ended just about two weeks after she gave birth. With four Grand Slam titles under her belt and a former world No. 1 ranking to defend (and hopefully reclaim), it would be easy to assume her motivation was mere passion for the game. But, as it turns out, her biggest push to return so quickly was a touch more personal than that. 

Her dream—and what got her to lace up and pick up that racquet again—was “for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, ‘That’s my mom,’” she told Adweek

In recent months, Osaka has declared herself ready to hit the ground running in 2024, starting, of course, with the Australian Open in late January. The star, who won that very tournament—the first Grand Slam of the year—in both 2019 and 2021, will look to return to the game in style and set the tone for the rest of the year.

She won’t just stop at the Australian, though. She has her sights set on a Grand Slam-heavy schedule for 2024. We can’t wait to see her back at it.

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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.