Osaka envisions busy schedule in 2024 return

Osaka envisions busy schedule in 2024 return

Naomi Osaka, who is planning to return to competition at January’s Australian Open after giving birth to her first child, said Wednesday she will maintain a busy schedule next year.

The four-time major champion withdrew from this year’s Australian Open because of her pregnancy and welcomed daughter Shai in July.

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka told ESPN at the US Open when asked whether she had set a schedule for 2024.

“I think some people will be happy with that.”

The former world No. 1, who represents Japan, said she agreed to the larger workload next year because she is unsure how she will fare when she returns and wants to ensure she gets enough playing time as she eases herself back onto the tour.

“At least I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year,” she said.

She said she has “definitely” missed competing during the break and that she is eager to return.

“I’ve been watching matches and I’m like, ‘I wish I was playing too,'” she said.

“But I’m in this position now and I’m very grateful. I really love my daughter a lot, but it has really fueled a fire in me.”

Osaka, 25, is a two-time champion of both the US Open and Australian Open who held the world’s top ranking for 25 weeks in 2019.

She took a break from tennis to prioritize her mental health after skipping the 2021 French Open and spoke on a panel on the topic at the US Open on Wednesday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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