Naomi Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, plans to return to tennis in time for the Australian Open in 2024.
During an interview with ESPN at the U.S. Open on Wednesday, Osaka answered “yes” when asked if she would be in Melbourne next year.
At Flushing Meadows in New York, she said her break from the sport “really fueled a fire in me.”
Four Grand Slam singles titles have been won by her, including the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021 and the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020.
After giving birth to her daughter Shai in July, she hasn’t played since the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September 2022.
As a result of her withdrawal from the French Open in 2021, Osaka has taken extended breaks from the game to protect her mental health.
Her latest time away “really raised my love for the sport and it made me realize I’m not going to play forever. I have to embrace the times. I’ve been playing tennis since I was three,” she said. “I don’t think I can predict what I’ll do – I never am able to do that – but it definitely made me appreciate a lot of things that I took for granted.”
“I literally didn’t talk about anything I was going through with my own family for 10 years and then it just – I was a volcano that erupted,” Phelps said. “Instead of talking about it, I just let it build.”