Former world No. 1 Osaka has had an on-and-off relationship with tennis over the last few years. The four-time Grand Slam champion announced a hiatus after failing to defend her title at the 2021 US Open, saying that the sport didn't make her happy anymore.
The Japanese player has also spoken about her struggle with mental health issues, which has caused her to withdraw from some tournaments in the past.
However, Osaka returned to the sport in 2022 before missing the 2023 season for a much more positive reason, as she announced she was expecting her first child with rapper Cordae.
Macci predicts successful comeback
Since the start of her pregnancy, Osaka has made it clear that she intended on coming back to the sport after giving birth, although this return would probably not take place until 2024.
After welcoming her daughter earlier in July 2023, the 25-year-old is now back to training just weeks later. This delighted her fans, who are now wondering if she may come back to the top ranks of the sport sooner than originally expected.
Moreover, Rick Macci, who is known for coaching the likes of Serena Williams, her sister Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova, has said that he thinks Osaka will be back among the best in the world by the end of next year. Writing on social media, he stated
"@naomiosaka by the end of 2024 will be in the top ten. She has 4 slams in her back pocket has been number one. Her serve is one of the best and she has the juice on both wings. The wildcard is belief and hunger and I know she believes and is very motivated."
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This is indeed looking more and more possible, as it appears that Osaka is currently focusing on the next Australian Open, a tournament which she has already won twice and which will take place in January 2024.