Four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka will miss the entirety of the 2023 tennis season after announcing her pregnancy.
The 25-year-old pulled out of the year’s first grand slam, the Australian Open, amid concern for her health. She has previously taken time off, even missing grand slams, to focus on her mental health.
Osaka has also not competed in a professional WTA tennis tournament since the Pan Pacific Open in September.
She put those rumours to rest with the announcement of her pregnancy on her social media channels.
“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 wrote.
Naomi Osaka had earlier failed to elaborate on her decision to withdraw from the year’s first slam leading to conjecture that she was scaling back her tennis career in order to focus on other projects.
But the twice winner of the Australian Open has confirmed that she will return to the continent next year.
“2023 will be a year that’ll be full of lessons for me and I hope I’ll see you guys in the start of the next one cause I’ll be at Aus 2024,” Osaka wrote. “Love you all infinitely.”
Osaka also had a down year by her standards last time around, and there is hope that she can return to her best when she makes her comeback.
With the emergence of Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula among others, the pressure is also off the Japanese superstar to carry the women’s game as earlier thought.