Naomi Osaka says she’s pregnant, plans tennis return in 2024

TAKING A BREAK — Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka speaks during an interview at Ariake Tennis Forest Park in Tokyo on Sept. 19, 2022. Kyodo News photo

Naomi Osaka is pregnant and plans to return to competition in 2024, the tennis star announced Jan. 11.

The former world No. 1 posted what she called “a little life update for 2023” on social media, including a picture of an ultrasound.

The 25-year-old Osaka has been dating Cordae, a rapper, for years.

“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.

Osaka hasn’t played a competitive match since September and withdrew from the Australian Open, which begins Sunday. She has won that tournament twice, along with two U.S. Open championships.

She has taken mental health breaks in recent years and didn’t play again after the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, shortly after falling in the first round of the U.S. Open. Osaka said the few months away have given her “a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to.”

Ash Barty, the 2022 Australian Open champion, announced last week she was pregnant. She retired last year while holding the No. 1 ranking.

But Osaka said she will return to tennis and plans to be in Melbourne next year for the start of the Grand Slam season.

“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 closed by saying she doesn’t know if there’s a perfectly correct path in life, but that “if you move forward with good intentions you’ll find your way eventually.”

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