Martina Navratilova warns Naomi Osaka what to avoid in return from lengthy absence

Martina Navratilova warns Naomi Osaka what to avoid in return from lengthy absence
© Getty Images Sport – Graham Denholm

Martina Navratilova is tipping Naomi Osaka to be “back to her amazing self” by March but also warned the Japanese to avoid taking things too fast in her comeback because that could be a wrong thing to do after a very long absence.

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, hasn’t played since 2022 September. At the start of the 2023 season, Osaka announced she was pregnant and that would miss the entire season. When Osaka returns to action in January, it will be nearly a year and a half since she last played.

Osaka, who turned 26 in October, is still relatively young and the former world No 1 has underlined several times this year that her post-pregnancy goals include winning more Grand Slams. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds.

After the layoff, it’s going to take her time to get her match legs underneath her, the confidence flowing again. I just hope that she takes it slower, rather than too fast. I’m thinking by Indian Wells, early March, she’ll be back in the mix, back to being her amazing self.

She won the title there in 2018. It would be great for the sport to see her back at the top,” Navratilova told the WTA website.

Navratilova tips Osaka to be ‘back to her amazing self’ by March

This month, the Brisbane International announced that Osaka signed up to play in their tournament.

The Brisbane event will be taking place between December 31 – January 07 and that’s where Osaka’s comeback will officially start. “She knows she’s going to optimise her preparation for Melbourne. It was an easy conversation but I’m thrilled she’s coming back.

To restart her career after becoming a mum, we couldn’t be more thrilled she’s chosen Brisbane,” Brisbane tournament Cam Pearson announced this month. It remains to be seen how will Osaka look when she returns to tennis after a lengthy absence.

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