Returning Osaka targets place at Paris Olympics

Former world number one Naomi Osaka has set her sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics as she prepares to return to action at the Brisbane International.

The 26-year-old, who gave birth to her first child in July, has not played competitively since September 2022.

The Brisbane International runs between 31 December and 7 January.

“I definitely want to win more Grand Slams and I guess put in more time in the French Open and Wimbledon, and play the Paris Olympics,” Osaka said.

“I want to be someone that understands the game a lot more. In the first chapter of my tennis, I kind of got away with just being myself and playing with my instincts.”

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, who has had several breaks from playing because of mental health issues, represented Japan at the Tokyo Olympics but lost against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in straight sets in round three.

She gave birth to daughter Shai in July and in November announced she planned to play in Brisbane as she gears up for the Australian Open in January.

“I’ve never been a person that’s really good at playing for myself if that makes sense,” Osaka said.

“So I kind of like the feeling of having the responsibility of having to take care of Shai and wanting to show her around the world. I kind of feel more like I’m playing for her.”

Her most recent Grand Slam triumph came at the Australian Open in 2021, her second title at Melbourne Park following her 2019 triumph, while she also won the US Open in 2018 and 2020.

In May 2021, after pulling out of the French Open, Osaka revealed she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first major title at the US Open in 2018.

She has previously taken breaks from tennis to prioritise her mental health and spoken openly about the issues she has faced.

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