“Have That Itch Again”: Naomi Osaka Gives Major Update on Tennis Return After Taking a Break

Published 09/26/2021, 6:00 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her fourth round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza REUTERS/Loren Elliott


The 2021 season started perfectly for Naomi Osaka as she lifted her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. However, she’s had a roller-coaster year since then, facing mental health challenges and an unprecedented dip in her form. 

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Notably, after her US Open 2021 loss, she took yet another break from tennis, leaving fans uncertain of a return this time. Recently, the 23-year-old Japanese star opened up on the same at the NBA legend LeBron James‘ show ‘The Shop.’

Something to look forward to

The good news is she is eager to make a comeback on the WTA Tour sooner rather than later. Although, she also explained why she needed these sabbaticals. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

“For sure, I love the sport,” Osaka said. “I know I’m gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again. But it wouldn’t really matter to me if I won or lost. I’d just have the joy of being back on the court. Just to, like, you know, that I’m doing it for myself.”

Naomi Osaka on what changed for her on-court over the years

Without a doubt, Osaka is already one of the most successful players on the Tour. At 23, she also became the highest-paid women athlete in the world in 2021.

Besides, the Japanese star also brought in positive vibes, along with her, in every tournament she played. So what went wrong for her this year?

“I used to love the competition and just being competitive,” Osaka continued. “Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me. And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself.”

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 3 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off after losing her third round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic REUTERS/Mike Segar

Fortunately, she is feeling well and is ready to make her return to the WTA Tour. However, she is yet to announce a return date.

Besides, Osaka has already announced that she will not be playing at the upcoming WTA 1000 Indian Wells event. Thus, fans will hope to see her before the 2021 season ends.

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Purav Joshi

1220 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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