Naomi Osaka's hiatus from tennis might be coming to an end soon. The 24-year-old took to Instagram to share some pictures from a recent practice session.
Osaka said she felt a little "rusty" after spending so much time away from the court, but that it was also good to be playing again. She also thanked everyone for their words of support and encouragement.
"Kinda rusty but feels good to be back. I really want to say thank you everyone for all the kind messages, I really appreciate it," Osaka wrote on Instagram.
Following her third-round exit from the US Open, Naomi Osaka announced that she would be taking a break from tennis as she wasn't happy competing anymore. The four-time Slam champion was not even seen practicing over the last couple of months, leading to speculation that her hiatus might extend to next season.
However, her latest Instagram post suggests she will be back in competitive action soon. The Japanese will likely make the trip to Melbourne to kick off the 2022 season at the Australian Open, where she is the defending champion.
Naomi Osaka's 2021 season has been rather tumultuous
Naomi Osaka started the year on a high, winning her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. However, her season was then rocked by personal problems.
Her decision to to skip mandatory press conferences at the French Open to safeguard her mental health sparked a huge controversy, and she ultimately withdrew from the event after her first-round win. She also went on to skip Wimbledon.
Osaka returned to action at the Tokyo Games, where she lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. But the Japanese went on to lose in the third round. She exited at the same stage in her next two tournaments, including the US Open, prompting her to take another break.
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As a result of her inactivity, Naomi Osaka also exited the WTA top 10 for the first time since making her debut at the exclusive club following her 2018 US Open win. She's currently ranked 13.