Pregnant Naomi Osaka to miss 2023 tennis season

Japan's Naomi Osaka speaks during a interview ahead of the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King Natinal Tennis Center in Queens, New York on August 27, 2021 - KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images
Japan’s Naomi Osaka speaks during a interview ahead of the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King Natinal Tennis Center in Queens, New York on August 27, 2021 – KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka shocked the tennis world by announcing she is pregnant, stamping out swirling rumours regarding her absence from this year’s Australian Open.

Osaka, 25, posted the happy news to her Twitter account on Wednesday, three days after organisers in Melbourne confirmed the four-time major champion would miss this month’s tournament.

Alongside a picture of an ultrasound scan, Osaka wrote the caption: “Can’t wait to get back on the court but here’s a little life update for 2023.”

Attached was a statement where she vowed to return to Australia in 2024 and expressed her “new love and appreciation” for tennis.

“The past few few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it’s the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun,” Osaka wrote. “These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to.

“I realise that life is so short and I don’t take any moments for granted, everyday is a new blessing and adventure. 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’, haha. 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. Love you all infinitely.

“Sidenote: I don’t think there’s a perfectly correct path to take in life but I always felt that if you move forward with good intentions you’ll find your way eventually.”

Speculation has mounted in recent months about the former world No 1’s future in the sport, particularly after last season – where injury saw her skip Wimbledon.

Osaka – who was the top-paid female athlete in the world last year – played just 11 tournaments in total and dropped to no 47 in the rankings.

In 2021 she took extended breaks from the tour for her mental health and wellbeing, and had spoken of the toll both the sport and player media commitments had taken on her.

Ahead of her withdrawal on Sunday from the Australian Open – a tournament she won in 2019 and 2021 – she had been spotted on a European trip with long-term boyfriend, rapper Cordae. Last week she was pictured at a workout studio in Los Angeles where she is based.

But the latest update, and her renewed motivation to play as a mother, put an end to the question marks surrounding one of tennis’s most high-profile players, and will be music to the ears of fans and the women’s tour as a whole.

Published by anthonyhayble

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