Oh Baby! Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber rejoin WTA Tour with babies in tow

Osaka and Kerber, two former World No. 1's and Grand Slam champions, come back in 2024 after giving birth in 2023

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2024 is expected to be a thrilling year on the WTA Tour for many reasons. Two of those reasons are Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber, former World No. 1's, who are rejoining the tour after giving birth in 2023.

Working mothers are not a new phenomenon, but working mothers who are professional tennis players traveling nearly 11 months out of the year on tour are growing in popularity. Kim Clijsters is the first in the modern era to win Grand Slams after having children. Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant with Olympia and returned to tour after maternity leave. Victoria Azarenka and Elina Svitolina are also recent examples of women juggling parenting and tennis at the highest level.

Both Oskaka and Kerber have made it clear that they are coming back because they have unfinished business and believe they can be competitive in Grand Slams and other top-tier tournaments.

Assessing Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber's chances

Osaka, 26, is a four-time Grand Slam champion three years removed from her most recent title at the 2021 Australian Open. Her titles came in Melbourne or New York, so she has the best opportunity to add to her Grand Slam resume in both of those tournaments. She enters the Australian Open with a special ranking of 46th.

Kerber, 35, is a three-time Grand Slam champion over five years removed from her most recent title at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. She has won every Grand Slam but the French Open where she is a two-time quarterfinalist. Kerber enters the Australian Open with a special ranking of 31st.

It will be interesting to watch how both handle the dual role of athlete and mother. In the meantime, we hope to catch a glimpse of their baby daughters especially since we know they already have their own tennis rackets.

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