We are getting very close to the return of former WTA No. 1 Naomi Osaka. She hasn’t played since late in 2022 due to injury and having a child. But Naomi Osaka is one of the most charismatic and open players in tennis. Her absence has been felt, even though she wasn’t in great form for some time before she stopped playing.
Last week tournament officials at the Brisbane International announced that Osaka will be making her return at that event. The tournament is held from December 31 through January 7. The four-time Grand Slam winner reposted a social media post from the tournament about Naomi Osaka participating at the event.
Osaka seemed to be losing a bit of focus on the sport prior to 2022. She has always been open about the mental stress of playing and the fans’ reactions to her play caused her. To be fair, people on social media can be overly mean hidden behind their computer screams. That’s sad, but Naomi Osaka’s return isn’t.
Naomi Osaka to return in January and four qualify for Next Gen ATP Finals
If she plays well in Brisbane, it could give her some momentum heading into the Australian Open a couple of weeks later. If she is somehow able to win the Aussie Open, she would be the first woman to win a Grand Slam after she had a child. Plus, her winning would simply make for a great story as well.
As far as Next Gen ATP Finals news, four players have now qualified. This includes Arthur Fils, Dominic Stricker, Luca Van Assche, and Flavio Cobolli. The top eight ranked players that are 21 and under on the ATP qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. Many times the very top players do not participate because they might be exempt as they are playing in the ATP Finals. This is the case this year for Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune.
Ben Shelton and Lorenzo Musetti have also said they would not participate in the Next Gen ATP Finals for medical or personal reasons. Basically, the top four ranked players under 21 will not be participating in the Next Gen ATP Finals.
The next four players who could get in would be Hamad Medjedovic, Alex Michelsen, Arthur Cazaux, and Luciano Darderi. There is still time for things to change, however, due to results from ongoing Challenger Tour events. The Next Gen ATP Finals will be held at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from November 28 through December 2.