Naomi Osaka On Worries She Had About Having A Baby At Height Of Her Career


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Naomi Osaka is one of the latest athletes to have a child and she’s challenging the social norms around it. The 25-year old gave birth to her first child in July. She had her baby girl with rapper Cordae and welcomed the child, Shai, in Los Angeles. 

Towards the final stretch of her pregnancy, Osaka went on the podcast Mountaintop Conversations by Saysh and explored topics like motherhood and being women in sports with Allyson Felix and her brother Wes, as well as sports manager Stu Duguid. The episode was recently released.

The conversation began with the three discussing their expectations of returning to competition after having a child. Osaka joked that she planned to get back to training four weeks after giving birth. 

“You can only take it one day at a time, and that’s life,” she said. “For me I’m just trying to take this year to relax. Since I won my first slam, everything’s been happening really really fast for me and I’ve never had time to process it as much as I wanted to.”

The tennis pro has won four Grand Slams, with the first being the U.S. Open in 2018 where she beat the legendary Serena Williams. However, the new mom withdrew from the French Open in May 2021 due to mental health challenges. Because her career has progressed so fast, Osaka did initially have some worries about entering motherhood.

“For me I’ve always had the assumption that if you have a kid it’s basically the end of your career. I don’t really see a lot of women on the tennis tour with kids. They’re usually a bit older and it just seems like very hard, taxing on your body,” she said. “I just never really thought if I had a kid would I get back on the tour.”

But the Japanese, Haitian, and American player said deciding to have a child made her want to work harder. Others had their questions though.

“I wonder why guys that are younger than me and around the same age as me are able to have kids, and they’re kind of just walking around like everything’s fine… It irritated me a little bit because I felt like I was a lot more accomplished than them, but they weren’t dealing with any of the repercussions that women have if they need to have kids. So, that kind of softened the pressure for me,” she said. 

In June this year, Osaka announced that she plans on returning to tennis at the 2024 Australian Open in January. We look forward to seeing her on the court then, or whenever she so chooses to come back. We are in a time where women continue to push the boundaries across every sector so there’s no doubt Osaka will be back better than ever. 


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