China's national anthem was played twice on the Hangzhou Asian Games tennis court, for young stars Zheng Qinwen and Zhang Zhizhen respectively.
Four-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 Naomi Osaka on Wednesday announced that she is pregnant with her first child and plans to return to tennis in 2024.
The 25-year-old revealed the news in a social media post, penning a heartfelt note to fans in both English and Japanese that accompanied a photo of a sonogram.
“Can’t wait to get back on the court, but here’s a little life update for 2023,” she wrote in a tweet.
WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon offered his best wishes to Osaka.
“The WTA family congratulates Naomi on this very special news. As she now embarks on this exciting next chapter in her life, we celebrate her becoming a mom and look forward to seeing her back on the court when she and the family are ready,” Steve Simon was quoted as saying by WTA.com.
American teenager Coco Gauff was among the peers to congratulate Osaka after her announcement.
Osaka says she hopes to come back better than ever to the Hologic WTA Tour in 2024, with a new young fan in tow.
“These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to. I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future; one thing I’m looking forward to is for my kid to watch some of my matches and tell someone, ‘That’s my mom.’ 2023 will be a year that’ll be full of lessons for me, and I hope I’ll see you guys at the start of the next one ’cause I’ll be at Aus 2024,” she said in a post.
Osaka last competed in September at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she won her first match against Daria Saville by retirement before withdrawing from her second-round match against Beatriz Haddad Maia due to abdominal pain.
Osaka has four Grand Slam singles titles, including victories at the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021, as well as the US Open in 2018 and 2020. Forbes named her the world’s highest-earning female athlete for 2022, with reported earnings of $51.1 million.
Osaka joins fellow Slam champion Ashleigh Barty in the mother-to-be category. Barty, the 2022 AO champ who retired in March, posted her pregnancy news just a few days ago.