Naomi Osaka interview
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Naomi Osaka interview with great comeback: A Story of Pregnancy, Fear, and a Ballerina

After taking an extended break from tennis following the 2021 US Open and giving birth to her daughter Shai in July 2022, Naomi Osaka is ready for her next comeback. In an exclusive Naomi Osaka interview, the four-time Grand Slam champion opened up about her journey into motherhood, her return to training, and how she has rediscovered her motivation to compete at the highest level.

Naomi Osaka interview: Motherhood Transforms her Perspective

Becoming a mother has profoundly shifted Osaka’s outlook on tennis and life. She took time away from the Australian Open in January 2022 during her pregnancy because watching it was too painful, reminding her of what she was missing. Her priorities have evolved as she now thinks about the memories and example she wants to set for her daughter Shai.

“At the heart of it all, I want to show my daughter the world, and I also want her to remember me playing tennis for as long as I can because it is such an important part of my life,” Osaka said in the Naomi Osaka interview. “I know the athlete’s lifespan isn’t that long. I probably won’t be able to play past when she’s, like, 14 or something like that. But I do want her to have a memory of me playing.”

Osaka also desires to leave the sport better off than how she found it and set an example for the next generation of players who will follow in her footsteps. Her new status as a mother has brought a fresh perspective to her career and ignited a new fire within her.

Returning to Competition with Newfound Motivation

After taking her first hiatus from tennis in 2021, Osaka’s subsequent comeback attempt in 2022 was derailed by injuries and struggles. She is determined to not let that happen again and has a renewed drive to return to world No. 1 over the next 5-7 years.

Osaka started slowly returning to practice in August 2023, just over a month after giving birth. She was extremely motivated but had to rebuild her strength and conditioning from scratch after pregnancy. “Some of my muscles were gone and also my core was completely destroyed,” Osaka explained about the early training process in the Naomi Osaka interview.

Her team, including coach Wim Fissette and trainer Florian Zitzelsberger, have been instrumental in her comeback. They asked Osaka tough questions about her commitment and desire before agreeing to work with her again. Their high expectations have pushed Osaka to strive for her full potential, which they believe she has yet to reach.

Fissette in particular felt Osaka never hit her ceiling during their previous stint together. “Everyone who is here believes she never reached her full potential,” he commented in the Naomi Osaka interview. “We had three nice years, we won two slams, and it was really good. But I was, in some ways, disappointed.”

Osaka has risen to its challenge, embracing a rigorous training regimen since last fall. She committed to a strict nutrition plan, extensive strength and conditioning work, and 2.5 hours of on-court practice daily. Her team even brought in a ballet dancer to help refine Osaka’s movement and footwork as the sport has evolved.

Heading into 2024 with Cautious Optimism

Osaka returned to the WTA competition at the beginning of January at the Brisbane International, winning her opening match. She appreciates that her results may be inconsistent early on as she shakes off the rust from her layoff.

“Australia is just the beginning,” said coach Fissette in the Naomi Osaka interview, trying to manage expectations. He wants Osaka to peak for the summer hard court season and the 2024 US Open, the site of some of her greatest triumphs.

While patience is necessary, Osaka is encouraged by the progress she has made over the past few months. “I’m actually, like, striking a really great backhand now,” she remarked positively about her game in the exclusive Naomi Osaka interview.

With a refreshed mindset and motivation, Naomi Osaka seems poised to write the next triumphant chapter in her incredible career. She has confronted self-doubt and intense training to put herself in a position for a successful comeback. If Osaka can maintain consistency and continue improving, she could once again become a dominant force in women’s tennis. For now, she is focused on enjoying the journey back one step at a time.

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