While addressing a press conference in Doha on Sunday, February 11, Naomi Osaka recently admitted to missing her baby daughter Shai.
Osaka returned to on-court action in January 2024 following more than a year-long maternity break. She gave birth to Shai in July 2023 but didn’t travel until the end of the year.
The Japanese picked the Australian summer tennis swing as her first challenge on the comeback. She competed at Brisbane International 2024, to begin with, but couldn’t last longer than the second round.
She then flew to Melbourne for the Australian Open, a tournament she has won twice thus far. However, she lost to France’s Caroline Garcia in the first round.
Osaka participated in the Abu Dhabi Open a week ago but met a similar fate as she went down to Danielle Collins in her opener. She is currently in Doha for the Qatar Open and will interestingly take on Carolina Garcia again to kick things off.
Ahead of the match, the 26-year-old briefed the media about the aspect of staying away from her daughter Shai, among various other things. She revealed that Shai would accompany her for the forthcoming European swing of the WTA tour.
“Of course, I really miss my daughter, but I’m looking forward to her traveling with me, because she’ll come to Europe. I guess that also makes me very excited to go to Europe,” Naomi Osaka told the Japanese media.
There is a significant amount of time left before Shai can start traveling with her mother as the European leg doesn’t start before April 2024.
Naomi Osaka: “When I was pregnant, I was jealous of everyone that could travel”
During the media briefing in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, Naomi Osaka denied feeling fatigued at all.
“I think for me it’s so early in the season, so I don’t really feel tired or anything,” she told the media.
The four-time Grand Slam champion further joked about envying her colleagues for not being able to travel due to pregnancy.
“I think also when I was pregnant, I was jealous of everyone that could travel, so I think right now I’m kind of happy to not be stuck at home,” she added.
Naomi Osaka’s opening-round match against Caroline Garcia at the Qatar Open 2024 will begin on Monday evening. As far as the head-to-head record to date is concerned, she is tied with Garcia at 1-1.