Serena Williams' former coach, Rick Macci, is optimistic that Japanese star Naomi Osaka will be ranked in the top 10 next season.
The four-time Grand Slam champion hasn't played a single game in the 2023 season. She announced in January that she was pregnant, following which Osaka and her rapper boyfriend Cordae welcomed their daughter Shai in July.
With her comeback imminent, Macci, who coached the Williams sisters in the early years of their career, took to social media to share his optimism about the 26-year-old's future.
The American tennis coach confidently stated that Osaka, currently unranked on the WTA Tour, will secure a spot in the top 10 by year-end, emphasizing that her resilience will shine through after facing initial losses.
"Was asked again if I still think Naomi Osaka can be top ten by the end of the year. 100%. Once she gets back into the battle and feels the Pain of losing in the Beginning the 4time Grand Slam Champ will dig deep in that treasure trove of Confidence and do Major league Winning," Macci said
Aside from the Williams sisters, Rick Macci has also coached other top tennis stars, such as three-time Grand Slam winner Jennifer Capriati, 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, and Russian tennis icon Maria Sharapova.
A sneak peek at the last time Naomi Osaka won a Grand Slam title
The last time Naomi Osaka won a Grand Slam title was at the 2021 Australian Open, her second time winning the title at Melbourne.
In the first round, she faced Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and defeated her in two sets, setting up a second-round encounter with 2022 WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia. Osaka won the match in straight sets, beating the Frenchwoman 6-2, 6-3.
In the third round, she faced World No. 6 Ons Jabeur and won 6-3, 6-2. This was her third straight-sets win of the tournament. Spanish tennis star Garbiñe Muguruza then took on Naomi Osaka in the Round of 16, losing 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
In the quarterfinals, Naomi Osaka seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Hsieh Su-wei, and the match ended 6-2, 6-2 in favor of the former World No. 1.
In the semifinals, she competed against seven-time Australian Open winner, Serena Williams, securing victory with a 6-3, 6-4 scoreline. Most notably, Williams, who was attempting to win a historic 24th Grand Slam at the time, left the press conference in tears afterwards. Osaka went on to clinch her fourth Grand Slam title when she defeated American tennis star Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
The Japanese last played a WTA tournament at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September 2022, and will be returning to the tennis court at the Brisbane international next year.