Naomi Osaka announces pregnancy, will miss the entirety of the 2023 season

Naomi Osaka has announced her pregnancy and will miss the 2023 season.

Just days after pulling out of the 2023 Australian Open, four-time Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka took to social media to announce she is pregnant and will miss the entirety of the 2023 season. The announcement has brought to an end speculation that Osaka might be seeking time away from the sport having fallen out of love with the game, with the Japanese star stating that she intends to compete at the 2024 Australian Open.

“The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it’s the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun,” wrote Osaka. “These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to.”

The former world #1 played in just 25 matches last season and has not taken the court since Sept. 20 in Tokyo. Despite this, she remains the highest-paid female athlete in the world. Osaka earned $50 million in endorsements last year, according to Forbes.

Osaka has been very open with her mental health struggles that led to her leaving the court for four months in the latter half of 2021. According to her announcement, the 25-year-old gained a newfound love for the sport this offseason. When fully focused and healthy, she is one of the most entertaining players to watch in the sport. Osaka’s consistency and power from the baseline are only replicated by the greats and she can be almost impossible to stop when she is in full flight.

“I don’t think there’s a perfectly correct path to take in life but I always felt that if you move forward with good intentions you’ll find your way eventually,” is how Osaka finished her announcement.

The sport is undoubtedly better with Osaka in it. The tennis world looks forward to her healthy return to action next January. But in the meantime, her absence in Melbourne may open the door for a surprise champion even if world #1 Iga Swiatek remains the heavy favourite to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in just over two weeks time.