Naomi Osaka announced to play first doubles tournament in seven years
Naomi Osaka has signed up to play her first competitive doubles match since 2018, alongside two-time Wimbledon singles finalist Ons Jabeur.
Osaka made her return to the singles court earlier this month in Brisbane, after 15 months out following her pregnancy to daughter, Shai.
The former No.1 won her opening match, before being beaten in the second round, and suffered a first round defeat to Caroline Garcia in her Grand Slam return at the Australian Open.
Despite the disappointment of her early exit in Melbourne, Osaka revealed that she would be taking on a more full schedule than previous years and subsequently received a wildcard for the WTA 500 tournament in Abu Dhabi.
And now the Japanese star has also received a wildcard for the doubles tournament with the aforementioned Jabeur, as the duo look to pair up for the first time.
Enter Main Draw Doubles wild card #OnSaka ?
For the first time ever @NaomiOsaka and @Ons_Jabeur are teaming up! They will compete in the doubles tournament at the #MubadalaAbuDhabiOpen.#Mubadala #InAbuDhabi #AbuDhabiSC #OnsJabeur #NaomiOsaka #WTA pic.twitter.com/lgkeWJuRxa
— Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open (@MubadalaADOpen) January 29, 2024
The last time that Osaka competed on the doubles court was alongside compatriot Yuichi Sugita at the 2018 Hopman Cup, with her last WTA doubles event in Tokyo with sister, Mari.
Jabeur is also not a seasoned doubles player, having only competed in 13 WTA tournaments in her 14-year career. However, the pair are likely to be crowd favourites when the Abu Dhabi Open gets underway next week.
Inside the baseline…
It is great to see Naomi Osaka truly sticking to her word and trying to compete as much as possible. Although it is clear that Osaka is not going to be a full time doubles player, after such a lengthy absence anytime on the matchcourt is a good idea. And to be playing with one of the most popular players on tour, Ons Jabeur, Osaka is likely to enjoy herself no matter the outcome.
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