Osaka set to make her post-pregnancy comeback at the Brisbane International.
Former 22-time Grand Slam doubles champion Pam Shriver predicts Naomi Osaka “comes back strong” as the American tennis legend thinks the Japanese will be inspired by Serena Williams, Elina Svitolina and others who made successful post-pregnancy returns.
Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, missed the entire 2023 season after announcing that she was pregnant in January. In July, Osaka announced that her daughter was born and since then the former world No 1 has been working on returning at the start of the 2024 season.
In recent years, there have been several cases of a WTA player making a positive and successful return to tennis after giving birth. After giving birth, Williams made four Slam finals. The most recent case of a successful post-pregnancy comback is Elina Svitolina, who made the Wimbledon semifinal and reached the French Open quarterfinal just after returning to tennis after a 13-month absence.
Osaka’s comeback will start at the Brisbane International, which kicks off on December 31st. “It’s fascinating. I think Osaka’s got to be very inspired by some very successful maternity ladies before her, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Tatjana Maria, Elina Svitolina.
This one has more intrigue because of [the mental duress discussions] that led up to the maternity leave. I think she comes back strong, with the perspective that you’ve got great things to look forward to at home. I’m looking forward to seeing her in Australia,” Shriver told the WTA website.
Shriver advises Osaka to draw inspiration from Williams, Svitolina & others
Osaka didn’t really play much after winning the 2021 Australian Open and that took a toll on her results. But throughout this year, Osaka has been saying that she is determined to do major things in her return. “I really want to play again.
I found out (she was pregnant) and then I was like, OK, I’m definitely going to play better and be a better player after this. For me it just made me want to try harder and be the best that I can be,” Osaka said on Japanese TV in April.
During her appearance on Japanese TV, Osaka was also asked how many Grand Slams she wanted to win after pregnancy. “Eight,” Osaka responded.