Naomi Osaka’s long-awaited return to the tennis courts ended much quicker than expected, with a first-round exit at the Australian Open. But, the four-time Grand Slam winner, who lost to Caroline Garcia, is celebrating the little wins: an early reunion with her baby girl Shai.
The 26-year-old, who gave birth to her daughter, whom she shares with boyfriend and rapper Cordae, last July, shared a heartfelt and vulnerable recap of the tournament, which she has won twice before.
“Writing this on my way back home and I have to say I’m extremely thankful. I remember last year I wished I had an opportunity to play again on Rod Laver Arena and this year that happened so one of my dreams already came true. Currently however my entire being is so disappointed with my result, the standards I set for myself are so incredibly high,” the Long Island native, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent, wrote alongside powerful HD pics from Monday’s game at Rod Laver Arena.
“I try to remind myself that I was pregnant 6 months ago and I can’t expect amazing results from the jump-that doesn’t really do much to quell my thoughts though.”
Osaka made her WTA Tour debut at the age of 16 and has been an absolute powerhouse ever since. She took a little over a year off from professional tennis to focus on her mental health and welcome her first baby.
“Understanding the importance of time is a skill I improved on after having Shai, things that used to bother me don’t bother me anymore. I don’t have time for it. In that same aspect I feel I don’t have time to mope after losses anymore, the world moves on and I have to continue to walk forward,” the SI Swimsuit model continued. “It’s a new bittersweet feeling, so sad to leave Melbourne early but I’m so happy to go see Shai soon. She’s been scooting back and forth lately so I’m relieved I’ll be back home in time to see her first crawl.”