Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after defeating Belinda Bencic of Switzerland during a semifinal round match of the Miami Open tennis tournament at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, US, 31 March 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/ERIK S. LESSER

Naomi Osaka to return to competitive tennis with Brisbane International

Tokyo, Nov 10 (EFE).- Former world no. 1 Naomi Osaka, who gave birth to her daughter in July, will return to competitive tennis with Brisbane International in December-January, both she and the tournament’s organizers announced on Friday.

“First tournament next year. so excited, I haven’t been to Brisbane in a while,” the tennis player said on her X account.

“I am really excited about getting back out on court and competing. I always love starting my season in Brisbane and can’t wait to return,” Osaka, who made back-to-back semifinal appearances at the Brisbane International in 2019 and 2020, said in a statement published by Brisbane International Tennis.

“The Brisbane International is such a great tournament and will set me up for a brilliant comeback this summer,” she added.

The WTA premier tournament will be held in the city in eastern Australia between Dec. 31, 2023 and Jan.7, 2024.

The Japanese player in January announced her pregnancy on social media, where she uploaded a photo of an ultrasound and said she hoped her child would one day watch her matches.

She added that 2023 would be “a year full of lessons” for her and that she hoped to return to tennis in 2024.

The 26-year-old former world no. 1 last played in September 2022 in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she withdrew before her second round match, suffering from abdominal pain.

In last year’s Grand Slam events, Osaka lost in the third round in Melbourne, in the first round at Roland Garros, and at the US Open after missing Wimbledon due to an Achilles tendon injury.

Naomi Osaka, the daughter of a Haitian-American father and Japanese mother, represents Japan in international competitions and has spoken openly about her mental health struggles. EFE