The Japanese, former world No.1 who fell to 47th place in the WTA rankings, announced on Wednesday that she was expecting a happy event…
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, former world No.1 who fell to 47th place in the WTA rankings, announced on Wednesday that she was pregnant and that she did not plan to play again before 2024.
“If I really want one thing, it’s for my child to watch one of my matches and then say to someone: ‘It’s my mother,’ tweeted the 25-year-old Japanese woman, photo supporting ultrasound.
Can’t wait to get back on the court but here’s a little life update for 2023. pic.twitter.com/GYXRnutU3I
— NaomiOsaka Naomi Osaka (@naomiosaka) January 11, 2023
“2023 is going to be a year full of lessons for me and I hope to see you again at the start of the next one since I will be there at the Australian Open 2024”, continues the champion, who has already won at twice in Melbourne and from which she had just announced her withdrawal for the 2023 edition on Sunday.
A four-time Grand Slam winner, Osaka has not played a competitive match since withdrawing from the Tokyo tournament in September due to abdominal pain. She also opened up about her mental health issues and has spent all of 2022 out of the Top 10, suffering first-round defeats at Roland Garros and the US Open.
The Japanese withdrew from Wimbledon due to an Achilles heel injury. In 2021, she made headlines by retiring from Roland-Garros after announcing that she would not give a press conference in order to preserve her mental health.
After a lightning ascent, the queen of tennis with a shy personality had until then masked her weaknesses. Already venerated in Japan, her country of birth in the city that bears her name, she had ended up becoming a muse throughout the world, the highest paid sportswoman in the world and had become a spokesperson for the movement against racism in 2020. It is precisely this overexposure that she did not support.
Mothers and champions
After leaving Japan at the age of three, Osaka emigrated to New York with her father, Leonard François, originally from Haiti, her Japanese mother Tamaki and her sister Mari. She still resides in the United States, in Fort Lauderdale (Florida), and has dual nationality. His childhood idols do not come from the archipelago: they are the Williams sisters.
Her own father devoted a good part of his life to the training of his two daughters, taking inspiration from the success obtained by Richard Williams with Serena and Venus. It was also against Serena that Naomi Osaka won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2018, the first major title for a Japanese woman, a mixed race woman.
The same Serena who returned to competition that season after putting her career on hold during her pregnancy. Other champions before her have done the same, such as the Australian Margaret Court, holder of the absolute record for Grand Slam titles (24), who had achieved a “small Slam” in 1973 (three Grand Slam lifts out of four ) after returning from a first maternity ward.
In 2009, Belgian Kim Clijsters won the US Open just eighteen months after giving birth. She will win two more, the 2010 US Open and the 2011 Australian Open, before putting an end to her career for good. “I realize that life is short and I don’t take anything for granted. Every day is a blessing and an adventure. These months spent away from sport have reinforced my love for this sport to which I have dedicated my life”, concludes Osaka in his announcement.
A message that will go straight to the hearts of her most fervent supporters in order to reassure them of her intentions when she resumes competition.