Naomi Osaka Reflects on First Grass Court Win in 5 Years in the Netherlands

Tomorrow, the professional athlete will play in the Libema Open’s Round of 16.
Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka / Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Until recently, Naomi Osaka hadn’t played on a grass court since 2019—but that didn’t hold her back.

Following her maternity leave during the 2023 season, the former world No. 1 returned to the court in January determined to find success. Her schedule this season has been packed—and purposely so. She’s looking to climb the rankings, and is taking every opportunity to do so.

So, it’s only fitting that her 2024 season brought her return to the grass court surface, as well. For the first time since 2019, Osaka took to the grass for a match against German professional Elise Mertens in the first round of the Libema Open in the Netherlands. And, in her first match back on the surface in half a decade, the 26-year-old secured a win—making it a doubly meaningful moment.

The win constituted a positive start to the grass season, which kicked off this week at the Libema Open and will culminate in Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam of the season, in early July.

And it was another important step for Osaka, who has been seeing a lot of success over the past few weeks in particular. Though she didn’t make it past the second round of the French Open—the second of the four majors this season—last week, she took the eventual champion and current world No. 1 Iga Świątek to match point in the third set of their matchup.

Osaka is set to take on Dutch player Suzan Lamens in the Round of 16 tomorrow, looking for another grass court win and another step toward her eighth WTA singles title.

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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.