Naomi Osaka is a contemporary tennis great. At 25 years old, she is a four-time Grand Slam champion and spent 25 weeks in 2019 as the world number one. However, she has made her impact felt beyond tennis. Osaka has been open about her struggles with mental health and the importance of prioritizing yourself. She has been a shining example of a socially-conscious and socially-active athlete in a turbulent modern world.
In January 2023, Osaka announced that she was pregnant with her first child. Withdrawing from tennis for the rest of the year, Osaka expressed her hope to return in time for the 2024 Australian Open. However, of course, being a visible woman in sport, Osaka has had to bear the brunt of the industry's deep-rooted misogyny.
"Not Trying To Make This A Male And Female Thing But Fr"
"Btw to the people that are suddenly concerned about my career- There are plenty of male athletes with kids that are significantly less accomplished, you might wanna worry about them instead. Thanks for the concern, might wanna redirect it to someone that needs it though ." Osaka tweeted on May 12. She was primarily responding to comments that a woman must be either an athlete or a mother. Despite that being complete bullshit, it's a sadly common sentiment. This is despite, as Osaka notes, "There are plenty of male athletes with kids that are significantly less accomplished."
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Osaka followed the tweet up with a second, "Not trying to make this a male and female thing but let's be fr." The comments were overwhelmingly positive, wishing Osaka well in her pregnancy and hoping to see her back on the court in due course. However, if Osaka was to leave tennis, that would be perfectly valid. Her biggest rival, Ash Barty, abruptly retired in March 2022. The world number one at the time, Barty was forthcoming about her retiring. "I don't have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent." However, we wish Osaka all the best going forwards, both in family and tennis matters.