Naomi Osaka - Miami Open 2022 and Coco Gauff - US Open 2023

Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff ‘the best news for women’s tennis’ claims Patrick Mouratoglou

Naomi Osaka is one of many high-profile names returning to the WTA Tour for the Australian Open swing, and Patrick Mouratoglou has compared the former No.1 and Coco Gauff to the Williams’ sisters and Maria Sharapova.

Osaka has been out of action for the entirety of 2023, having fallen pregnant with her first child that she gave birth to in July.

However, the four-time Grand Slam champion is now gearing up for a return, having entered the Brisbane International and Australian Open.

And the aforementioned Mouratoglou, who is the former coach of Serena Williams and Holger Rune, was full of praise for Osaka, backing her and US Open champion Coco Gauff to lead the WTA Tour.

“I think it’s the best news for women’s tennis,” claimed the Frenchman. “Now you have Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka, not there are no others because of course there are many others, but I think those two are super exciting. They are superstars, so they’re great for the WTA – the WTA needs superstars.

“We had so many great years with Serena [Williams], Venus [Williams] and Maria Sharapova, who are three really huge stars. And I think it draws a lot of attention to women’s tennis when you have players like that. So I’m very excited that Naomi comes back. I think she’s great. I think she can do well. I feel that she’s very motivated to come back.”

Besides having her daughter, Shai, Osaka has also had extended periods away from the sport due to mental health issues, but appears to be in a better place upon her return.

Speaking about her comeback, Mouratoglou has backed the Japanese star to impress down under, “Sometimes when you are away from tennis, you realise how much you miss tennis and when you come back, you are even hungrier.”

He continued, “So that’s probably what happened to her being away for a very long time. Her game is huge. She has such a huge game, huge shots. I think having the mindset, the will and the shots, she can really do some damage.

“She will be ready for the Australian Open. She will just lack matches. So we’ll know quite fast if she’s able to be competitive immediately or if she will need a bit more time to become competitive. But I feel she will be competitive straight away.”

Osaka will make her long-awaited return at the WTA 500 tournament in Brisbane, that begins on Monday 1st January 2024.

Inside the baseline…

There is no doubt that Naomi Osaka is one of the biggest names on the WTA Tour, alongside Coco Gauff who is the richest sportswoman on the planet. Osaka has won all four of her major titles on hardcourts, so if she can find her form could be a real threat at the Australian Open, where she is a two-time champion.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.