Brisbane | Osaka makes successful return to WTA Tour

New mother and former World No 1 Naomi Osaka made a successful comeback to the WTA Tour by defeating Tamara Korpatsch, 6-3 7-6(9), at the Brisbane International presented by Evie on Monday.

The last couple years that I played before I had my daughter, I didn't return as much love as I was given. So I really feel like that's what I want to do in this chapter. I just really appreciate people coming out and people knowing me and cheering for me. Naomi Osaka

It is the Japanese’s first win at the elite level since pulling out of last year’s Australian Open in Melbourne before later revealing that she was pregnant.

The four-time major winner was broken while serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, and needed 3 match points in the tiebreak before converting her win over the German in the 1st-round of the WTA 500 tournament in Queensland.

“I was super nervous the whole time,” 26-year old Osaka admitted later. “A part of me felt like Shai was watching me. I wanted to do my best for her.

“While I’m playing, I’m aware of it in the sense that I want to be a good role model for my daughter. Other than that I think I’m pretty much trying to be the same old me.”

Osaka had only played one match since her 1st-round exit at the 2022 US Open.

She was leading Daria Saville at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September of that year before the Australian retired from the match with injury.


Naomi Osaka (L) bumps rackets with Tamara Korpatsch after her win on Day 2 of the Brisbane International

© William West/AFP via Getty Images

The time out and motherhood has given Osaka a renewed focus on living in the moment.

“The last couple years that I played before I had my daughter, I didn’t return as much love as I was given,” she told the crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. “So I really feel like that’s what I want to do in this chapter.

“I just really appreciate people coming out and people knowing me and cheering for me.

“I guess, like, towards the end when I was signing autographs, I was more aware of kids,” she told a post-match news conference. “I see them differently now because now I’m a mom, too, and I can picture Shai being that age.”

Osaka will play a fellow former No 1 Karolina Pliskova, a 3-time Brisbane International champion in the 2nd-round.

Persistent rain meant matches on the outside courts were suspended, confining matches to the covered main stadium.


Naomi Osaka (R) has a new outlook following the birth of her daughter last summer

© William West/AFP via Getty Images



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