Naomi Osaka ‘an incredibly different person’ as she makes Wimbledon return

Naomi Osaka in action in 2024
Naomi Osaka will play at Wimbledon for the first time since 2019.

Naomi Osaka believes she is “an incredibly different person and player” since she last played at Wimbledon five years ago – ahead of her SW19 return.

Former world No 1 Osaka will take to Court 2 on Monday against French star Diane Parry, as she looks for a first win at the All England Club since reaching the third round in 2018.

The Japanese star was the world No 2 and the reigning US and Australian Open when she last played the event in 2019, falling in round one to Yulia Putintseva.

The Championships were cancelled in 2020 but Osaka then pulled out of the event in 2021 and 2022, before missing 2023 due to maternity leave.

Osaka has won a further US Open and Australian Open title since her last SW19 appearance but believes she has transformed entirely since her last campaign at the third major of the year.

“I think I’m probably an incredibly different person and player,” she said.

“I think as a player I know more about myself, hopefully I have a better serve, and as a person I also think I know more about myself and I’m probably a lot more open to different experiences and just seeing things in general.”

Since her return to the sport in January, after welcoming her daughter last summer, signs have been positive for Osaka.

The Japanese is back up to world No 113 – a return to the top 100 is possible at SW19 – and she has picked up some significant scalps.

However, she has notably suffered some tough defeats in recent weeks.

Osaka served for the match and had match point against Iga Swiatek before a defeat at the French Open, while she was beaten by Bianca Andreescu in a final-set tiebreak on the grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

And, ahead of her match against Parry, she revealed she is banking on “a little bit of luck” going her way at Wimbledon – and across the summer.

“I feel like my level is really good, I’m just not getting to the quarters of every tournament.

“It’s a little unfortunate, I feel like I just need a little bit of luck. I feel like if I didn’t play Iga in the second round, I could have potentially gotten really far in the French.

“I’m kind of banking on a little bit of luck in my tournaments and hopefully I’ll get to where I want to be.”

Wimbledon Day 1 order of play revealed: Carlos Alcaraz, Emma Raducanu, Coco Gauff headline action

Iga Swiatek vs Aryna Sabalenka blockbuster final as Elena Rybakina struggles – our Wimbledon women’s singles predictions

Wimbledon women’s singles draw: 5 most dangerous unseeded players – ft. Naomi Osaka, Emma Raducanu