Naomi Osaka reveals how many more Grand Slam titles she wants to win
Naomi Osaka has spoken about her goals when she returns to tennis following her pregnancy, with Grand Slam titles and the Olympics the current focus for the former No.1.
Osaka has not played since September, when she pulled out from the tournament in Tokyo after her first round match.
The four-time Grand Slam champion’s fans were worried when she withdrew from the Australian Open this year, with retirement rumours floating around, but were relieved when she released a statement announcing that she was pregnant.
“2023 will be a year that’ll be full of lessons for me and I hope I’ll see you guys in the start of the next one cause I’ll be at Aus 2024. One thing I am looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, ‘that’s my mom’,” Osaka said on social media.
Can’t wait to get back on the court but here’s a little life update for 2023. pic.twitter.com/GYXRnutU3I
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) January 11, 2023
Osaka followed up on this in more detail in a recent interview on Japanese television and confirmed that she would be back for the Australian Open, that she last won in 2021.
“I found out [I was pregnant] and then I was like ‘Okay, I’m definitely going to be a better player after this. For me it just made me want to try harder and be the best that I can be,” explained Osaka.
She added, “I’ll be in Australia next year. The baby [will be born in June]… I’ll have six months.”
The 25-year-old was then asked by interviewer, and 1995 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Shuzo Matsuoka about how many more Grand Slam titles she wanted to win, to which the former No.1 simply replied, “Eight.”
Osaka also expressed her desire to win gold at the Olympics Games in Paris next year, “I want to try to win the Olympics next year. It makes me very excited to return to the sport.”
The Japanese star became the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron in an opening ceremony, at her home Olympics in Tokyo, but was knocked out in the third round by eventual silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova.
The upcoming Paris Olympics will be held on the clay of Roland Garros, which is something that could be an obstacle to Osaka’s Olympic dream.
Naomi Osaka and her record on clay
Osaka does not have the best record on clay, and is yet to surpass the third round at Roland Garros.
The two-time US Open champion has a 52.8% win record on the surface since arriving on the WTA tour, with her best performance coming in 2019, in Madrid, when she reached the quarter-final..
Here are Osaka’s performances at Roland Garros over the years:
2016 – Osaka lost in the third round to Simona Halep (6), 6-4 2-6 3-6
2017 – Osaka lost in the first round to Alison Van Uytvanck (Q), 3-6 5-7
2018 – Osaka (21) lost in the third round to Madison Keys (13), 1-6 6(7)-7
2019 – Osaka (1) lost in the third round to Katerina Siniakova, 4-6 2-6
2021 – Osaka (2) gave a walkover to Ana Bogdan in the second round
2022 – Osaka lost in the first round to Amanda Anisimova (27), 5-7 4-6
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