Naomi Osaka, a former top-ranked player and winner of four major tournaments, will be returning to the tennis court at the revamped Brisbane International, much to the excitement of her fans.
Officials in Brisbane have officially announced that they have secured Osaka as the main attraction for the Australian Open warm-up event, which will take place from December 31 to January 7.
“I am filled with enthusiasm about returning to the court and engaging in competition,” stated Osaka.
“I am always excited to begin my season in Brisbane and eagerly anticipate my return. The Brisbane International is an exceptional tournament that will pave the way for a successful comeback this summer.”
Osaka, who has won both the Australian and US Open twice, caused a shock when she withdrew from the Melbourne Park major last year. She later disclosed that she was pregnant.
In July, the famous Japanese celebrity and her American rapper significant other Cordae had a daughter named Shai in Los Angeles.
“I thoroughly enjoyed that brief intermission, but now it’s time to return to our usual programming,” Osaka shared on her social media during that time. “I am eager to return to the court.”
The 26-year-old is part of a group of tennis players who have become mothers, like previous Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber, and have declared their comeback to the sport.
Osaka has only played one game, let alone a match, since the 2021 US Open in New York. She was leading Daria Gavrilova 1-0 at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September, 2021, before the Australian tore an ACL. Osaka then forfeited her second-round match before taking time out to have her first child.
Securing Osaka as the main performer is a suitable addition for the comeback of the Brisbane International, which has not been held since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, throughout its history, the event has consistently been a crowd favorite due to its impressive roster of heavyweight champions, such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios, and Victoria Azarenka.
Victoria Azarenka, currently ranked 22nd in the world for women’s tennis, boasts a record of 15 wins and 2 losses at the Brisbane International. She will be participating alongside Osaka in the WTA 500 tournament.
Andy Murray, a former top-ranked tennis player and winner of three Grand Slam titles, will participate in the men’s ATP 250 tournament. Also competing are 2017 Brisbane International champion Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria and up-and-coming player Holger Rune from Denmark.
“It’s wonderful to witness the return of the Brisbane International and I am eagerly anticipating my trip back to Queensland this upcoming summer,” stated Murray.
I have fond recollections of becoming the champion in 2012 and 2013 and I am eager to hoist the trophy once more for a third consecutive time in Brisbane.
Nick Kyrgios has informed the Brisbane International organizers that he will take a “wait and see” approach as they hold out hope for his return from injury at the tournament where he was victorious five years ago.
Kyrgios has only competed in one game so far this year, as his wrist and back injuries have hindered his comeback in 2022. This comeback had previously included a Wimbledon final and a US Open quarter-final appearance.
The 28-year-old is recovering from wrist surgery and has remained in touch with Brisbane tournament director Cam Pearson, who is confident his December 31-January 7 event is Kyrgios’s preferred comeback route.
Pearson stated that there have been numerous discussions about whether or not he will be prepared by January.
“We are still taking a wait and see approach. That is what Nick mentioned. There is still a month left before entries are closed. Nick has enough time to continue his rehabilitation and it would be wonderful to see him back on the court.”