Naomi Osaka is pregnant and plans to return to competition in 2024, the tennis star has announced, days after saying she is withdrawing from the upcoming Australian Open.
The former world number one posted what she called “a little life update for 2023” on social media on Wednesday, including a picture of an ultrasound.
The 25-year-old Osaka has been dating Cordae, a rapper, for years.
“I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I’m looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, ‘that’s my mom,’” Osaka wrote.
“2023 will be a year full of lessons for me, and I hope I’ll see you guys at the start of the next one cause I will be back at the Australian Open 2024. Love you all infinitely.”
Osaka has not played a competitive match since September and withdrew from the Australian Open, which begins on Sunday. She has won that tournament twice, along with two US Open championships. Osaka had not explained her absence until Wednesday.
She has taken mental health breaks in recent years and did not play again after the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, shortly after falling in the first round of the US Open. Osaka said that the months away have given her “a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to”.
The top-ranked player in the world in 2019, the Japanese player, who grew up in the United States, is now ranked 47th.
Osaka has won four Grand Slam singles titles with triumphs in the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021 and the US Open in 2018 and 2020.
She was named the world’s top-earning female athlete for 2022 by Forbes, with reported earnings of $51.1m.
Ash Barty, the 2022 Australian Open champion, announced last week she was pregnant. She retired last year while holding the number-one ranking.
But Osaka said she will return to tennis and plans to be in Melbourne next year for the start of the Grand Slam season.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA