Osaka returned to the tour this month after being away for all of 2023 on maternity leave and for the birth of her daughter Skai in July. She lost in the first round of the Australian Open to France's Caroline Garcia who played some of the best tennis in her career to defeat Osaka. She looked rusty from her long layoff and will continue to train and improve in the coming months.
It is very difficult for women to come back on tour and win after giving birth. The last player to win Grand Slams after childbirth was Kim Clijsters. Motherhood has become more common among WTA players with Taylor Townsend, Victoria Azarenka, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki, and Angelique Kerber also juggling both roles.
Naomi Osaka's 2024 schedule
Though disappointed by her first-round loss in Melbourne, Osaka was eager to get home because she believed that Skai would soon crawl for the first time, and she was anxious to see it. Skai did not travel with her when she played at this month's Brisbane International and the Australian Open.
Osaka is still figuring out her schedule, but Abu Dhabi, Indian Wells, Miami, and Charleston were always on the tentative list. American fans will be excited to see Osaka back on the court in the spring if she does participate in the Sunshine Double and on the clay court at Charleston.
She needs to figure out the right balance of practice and match play this year. She likely has her eyes set on the 2024 Paris Olympics and making a run at the US Open in September where she won two of her Grand Slams.