The tennis world has welcomed the news around Naomi Osaka’s pregnancy as the former world No.1 announced she’ll take a year off tennis.
Osaka is pregnant and plans to return to competition in 2024, the tennis star announced on Thursday morning (AEDT).
She joins former world No.1 Ash Barty in announcing the life changing news, which means the past two winners of the Australian Open are pregnant.
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In actual fact, all the female winners at Melbourne Park dating back to 2016 have either given birth, are now pregnant or in Serena Williams’ case, won the tournament in 2017 while carrying her daughter Olympia.
Osaka posted what she called “a little life update for 2023” on social media, including a picture of an ultrasound.
The 25-year-old 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 on Monday. She has won that tournament twice, along with two US Open championships.
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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 US Open. Osaka said the few months away have given her “a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to.”
Barty, the 2022 Australian Open champion, announced last week she was pregnant. She retired last year while holding the No.1 ranking.
Speaking on Nine’s Today hours after Osaka’s announcement, Todd Woodbridge said it would be wonderful to see Barty join Osaka on the tour next year, although he admits it’s wishful thinking.
“I liked at the end of her statement when she said “I’m looking forward to coming back in 2024,” Woodbridge said.
“Automatically it set off in my mind: ‘hey a young Australian might be able to come back with her.’
“Maybe she can get on the phone to Ash Barty, they will both be new mums by them. Maybe they can set up creche and move it around the world and Ash could be back out there.
“I’m not sure Ash would agree with me but we’ll plant the seed.”
Osaka said she will return to tennis and plans to be in Melbourne next year for the start of the 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.”
– additional reporting by AP
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