Naomi Osaka, the former world number one and new mother, marked her return to professional tennis with a hard-fought victory at the Brisbane International. The 26-year-old, a four-time Grand Slam champion, displayed resilience and excitement on Pat Rafter Arena, securing a 6-3, 7-6 (11/9) victory over German Tamara Korpatsch after an intense hour and 47 minutes of play.
Osaka, who took a hiatus from tennis in September 2022 due to mental health concerns, expressed her nerves and excitement about being back on the court. Despite the challenges, she embraced the opportunity to face a formidable opponent in her comeback match, acknowledging that tougher matches early on will better prepare her for future competitions.
“I was super nervous, but I was excited to be out there,” Osaka admitted. “I know all the opponents I play aren’t easy anyway, so it would be very ‘out there’ for me to think my first match would be a 6-1, 6-1 win.”
About Naomi Osaka Triumphs:
The Japanese tennis sensation, having given birth to a baby girl in July, rediscovered her passion for the sport and made the decision to return for the 2024 season. Her performance in Brisbane reflected a seamless transition back into competitive play, as she broke Korpatsch to love in the opening game and secured the first set with another break.
Reflecting on her achievement, Osaka expressed pride in her performance, noting that she played at a commendable level. The challenges she faced in her comeback match served as valuable training for the demanding competitions that lie ahead.
“I think it’s better to have harder matches early because it will train me for what’s to come,” Osaka said. “Looking back on the match now, honestly, I’m very proud of myself.”
Osaka’s return to the tennis scene not only captivated fans but also underscored her resilience and dedication to the sport. As she progresses through the Brisbane International and beyond, the tennis world eagerly anticipates witnessing the continued success of one of its brightest stars.