Naomi Osaka rumoured to be starting comeback season at the United Cup

Naomi Osaka

Former world No 1 Naomi Osaka looks set to begin her comeback campaign by turning out for Japan in the United Cup.

This comes after the ASB Classic tournament director revealed the headline players for their event which runs parallel to the United Cup.

The team event takes place across multiple venues in Australia with men and women competing alongside one another in head-to-head battles.

Osaka is reportedly set to turn out for Japan as she would be guaranteed to get at least two matches in.

The ASB Classic reached out to Osaka to see if she would be interested in an outing in Auckland but she could not commit and they moved on to securing defending champion Coco Gauff and former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki.

Auckland tournament director Nicolas Lamperin told New Zealand-based news outlet Stuff, that the ASB Classic operates with a limited budget and they need to be selective about their invitations.

“It was part of my initial thoughts (to get Osaka),” Lamperin said.

“But I was being told she wanted to play the United Cup (in Australia), on the basis that she would get a minimum of two matches.

“It was early in the process and we had to move on and get Coco and Caroline. The budget isn’t limitless, so we decided not to go after her in the end.”

Instead the ASB Classic recently announced that Wozniacki has agreed to turn out at an event that she is a two-time finalist at having lost the championship matches in 2015 and 2018.

“It is going to be my children’s first time there,” said Wozniacki.

“It’s amazing that I can come back and prepare as well as I can for the Australian Open.

“I love the fans in Auckland. It is always such a great event. I have always had an amazing time there.

“I thought it was going to be the best place for my preparation and the best place for my family to come and start the new season.”

Lamperin was thrilled to attract Wozniacki back to Auckland.

“Caroline is an extraordinary woman who is such a remarkable role model as a professional tennis player and person, and now showing that motherhood is no barrier.

“She has been a marvellous supporter of the ASB Classic and Auckland, and we are honoured and genuinely thrilled to host her back in our city.

“After watching her play in New York, I know that Caroline will be a genuine contender here.”

READ MORE: ‘Coco Gauff is the best athlete ever in women’s tennis over Steffi Graf’, claims top analyst