Home Sport Naomi Osaka's comeback continues to gather pace with French Open boost

Naomi Osaka's comeback continues to gather pace with French Open boost

Former World No. 1 Naomi Osaka has been given a lifeline ahead of the French Open as her comeback continues. She’s been handed a wild card for the Open Capfinances Rouen Metropole, which starts on April 15.

This will give Osaka vital practice on clay before the French Open. Despite missing all four majors last year and not yet competing on clay in 2024, she’ll be part of the main draw for the upcoming competition. Currently ranked No. 229 in the world, Osaka won four majors between 2018-2021.

The 26-year-old has been battling depression since 2018 and found major competitions challenging since her fourth Grand Slam win at the Australian Open in 2021. She took a break from tennis in 2023 after announcing her pregnancy and planned to return at the Australian Open in January.

Osaka made her comeback but was knocked out in the first round. She reached the Round of 32 in Abu Dhabi, Indian Wells, and the Miami Open. She also made it to the quarter-final in Qatar, narrowly losing to Karolina Pliskova. Despite these setbacks, she remains confident that she can return to her best form.

Osaka is taking it step by step as she gets back into tennis, putting her happiness and mental health first. She’s working on getting better at returning balls and wants to feel good on the court, whether she wins or not.

“That’s one of the key things I was trying to get better at I guess from the start of the year, from Australia. I’m trying to get better at returning,” Osaka said in Miami. “I just want to have progression and I want to go out like myself, even if I win or lose.”

Receiving a wild card for the Open Capfinances Rouen Metropole is great news for Osaka, who hasn’t had much luck on clay during her career. She’s never gone beyond the third round of the French Open or Wimbledon.

She’ll be joined at the upcoming WTA 250 event on indoor clay by the likes of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who was a finalist at Roland Garros, and Caroline Garcia, who has won the WTA Finals. Mirra Andreeva, 16, will be there too, along with past US Open winner Sloane Stephens and Pliskova.

Osaka has a tough journey ahead to reach the top, especially with Iga Swiatek dominating women’s tennis recently. Young American star Coco Gauff is also a major threat in recent tournaments. Yet Osaka’s experience could help her climb back to the top.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here