Mom-to-be Naomi Osaka shuts down detractors – ‘Thanks for the concern, might wanna redirect it’

Naomi Osaka in action

Former world No 1 Naomi Osaka has taken a swipe at the critics who believe she won’t return to competitive tennis after giving birth.

The four-time Grand Slam winner announced in January that she would miss the remainder of the 2023 season as she is expecting her first child with American rapper boyfriend Cordae, but vowed she will return in 2024 with her eyes firmly set on competing at next year’s Australian Open in January.

The Japanese star has since confirmed that she is due to give birth in June or July, but has insisted that her goal is to make a comeback and hopefully win more majors as well as gold at the 2024 French Olympics, stating: “I definitely plan to come back…it’s kind of like a break a little bit, but also I feel very competitive still, and I really want to win more slams.”

Of course, there have been skeptics who have questioned whether or not she will be able to compete with the best once she makes her return to the top level after giving birth.

The 25-year-old, though, fired back at the naysayers, writing on Twitter: “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.”

The two-time US Open champion and two-time Australian Open winner added: “Not trying to make this a male and female thing but let’s be [for real].”

Mothers performing at the top in tennis

Osaka will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of tennis great Serena Williams, who returned to the WTA Tour only a few months after giving birth. Williams went on to finish runner-up in four Grand Slam finals – including the 2018 US Open won by Osaka – after becoming a mom.

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who gave birth to her son Leo in 2016, and world No 66 Tatjana Maria – the mother of two who reached the Wimbledon semi-final last year – are also two role models when it comes to playing at the highest level after giving birth as they are both still playing at the top.

And further back in time, Kim Clijsters won three of her four Grand Slams after giving birth to her first daughter Jada while Margaret Court also won three majors after becoming a mother.