Naomi Osaka, four-time Grand Slam champion, has announced that she is pregnant.
The 25-year-old former world number one withdrew from the Australian Open earlier this week after not playing since September.
“2023 is going to be a year full of lessons for me,” Osaka said, adding that she hopes to return in 2024.
“One of the things I look forward to is when my kid watches my game and someone says, ‘That’s my mom.
Osaka won her final four Grand Slam titles at the 2021 Australian Open.
But she talks about the problems she faced after winning that memorable title.
In May 2021, after withdrawing from the French Open, she revealed that she had “suffered a long depression” since winning her first major title, the US Open, in 2018.
In September 2021, she took a five-month hiatus from sports.
She lost in the third round of the Australian Open on her return, then in the first round of the French Open, missed Wimbledon due to injury, and lost her opening match at the US Open.
Osaka last played at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September, dropping to 47th in the world rankings.
“The last few years have been interesting to say the least, but I think the most difficult times in life may be the most fun,” Osaka added, announcing her pregnancy on social media.
“The last few months away from sports have really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve devoted my life to.
“I realized that life is very short. No moment is taken for granted. Every day is a new celebration and adventure.
“I know I have a lot to look forward to in the future.”
Osaka is the latest notable player to step away from tennis due to pregnancy.
Germany’s three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber announced she was pregnant in August, hinting at a return after giving birth. Meanwhile, former world number three Elina her Svitolina is set to make a comeback this year after she gave birth last October.
Serena Williams took a break in 2017 for maternity leave, returned later that year, and continued playing until her retirement in 2022.