There's been no shortage of drama at the 2024 French Open so far, with four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka giving world No. 1 Iga Swiatek a run for her money in Wednesday's second-round match. 

Osaka looked every bit the former No. 1 that she is, despite the clay court not being her favored surface. After losing the first set to Swiatek in a tiebreak, Osaka took the second set 6-1. But up 5-2 in the third, Osaka could only watch as Swiatek fought back for a 7-5 set win to take the match.

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"For sure, this match was really intense. Much more intense for the second round than I ever expected. For sure, I'll be more ready next time," Swiatek said after the match. "Naomi played amazing tennis... I'm happy that she's back and she's playing well."

The victory extends Swiatek’s Roland Garros winning streak to 16 matches. The two-time defending champion is looking for her third-straight trophy — and fourth overall — at the major. 

For Osaka, the battle was an indicator of what might be in store for the rest of the year as she continues to make her way back from maternity leave. After all, she had match point at 5-3 in the third set before missing a couple of backhands that Swiatek swiftly converted for a break point. 

"I cried when I got off the court, but then, you know, for me, I kind of realize I was watching Iga win this tournament last year, and I was pregnant. It was just my dream to be able to play her," Osaka told reporters in a postmatch press conference. "When I kind of think of it like that, I think I'm doing pretty well. And I'm also just trying not to be too hard on myself. I feel like I played her on her better surface. I'm a hard-court kid, so I would love to play her on my surface and see what happens."

It was Osaka’s best match in years, with some of her serves reaching 122 MPH. She won 92 of the 139 points that lasted four or less strokes, and finished with a 54-37 advantage on winners. 

But even as Osaka looked more and more like her old self, it wasn’t enough to overcome the world No. 1. Swiatek’s bid to become the first woman to win three French Open championships in a row since 2009 continues. 

Elsewhere, Coco Gauff easily handled Tamara Zidansek in straight sets in her own second round match, while Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur also advanced to the third round.

Naomi Osaka’s Australian Open return ended in the first round, with the former world No. 1 suffering a straight-set loss to Carolina Garcia.

Despite the loss, the four-time Grand Slam champion remained upbeat.

“I felt like I did the best that I could possibly do. It was just really nice to be on Rod Laver again, hear the audience, how much they interacted with the match,” Osaka said. “I have to tell myself, ‘Hey, like six months ago you were pregnant,’ stuff like that. Of course, there’s a voice in my head that is, ‘Who are you to think you can come back and immediately start winning matches?’”

“I’ve taken a lot of breaks throughout the years … I think this one was the one that finally clicked in my head,” Osaka continued. “I think I realized, like, being an athlete, that time is really precious. I never took that for granted before [but] I was young and I felt like I could kind of roll back into it whenever I needed to.

“I guess after having Shai, kind of going through the struggle of trying to get myself back to where I want to be, it was incredibly tough. I have a much more positive mindset and a much more grateful mindset.”

Osaka made her return 15 months after giving birth to her daughter last July, and the Australian Open first round was just her third match of the season.

And while the Australian Open didn’t go exactly as planned, she’s still excited for the rest of the season.

“These past couple weeks I think, for me, I’m grateful for them,” Osaka said. “I have a team that’s really amazing and I’ve made a lot of different memories with them in Australia.

“Of course, I don’t regret anything. I think I’ve learned a lot during this trip, both on the court and off the court. Also I think I just played some really good people. It’s a little unfortunate.”

Now, Osaka turns to getting more matches under her belt. She said in Melbourne that she’s thinking of playing in Dubai, at Indian Wells, in Miami and Charleston before “probably” a full clay season.

Naomi Osaka is remaining positive despite losing in her second game back at the Brisbane International. The four-time Grand Slam champion fell to Karolina Pliskova in three sets.

“The week is definitely shorter than I wanted it to be,” Osaka said.”I feel like I’m pretty good where I am right now. Even the last time I played her, I think I played better today.”

Osaka fired 14 aces and just two double faults. She won 83 percent of points when getting her first serve into play.

Pliskova also won her last match with Osaka.

“I think I’m enjoying myself a lot more, and I also realize there’s a lot of things that aren’t in my control. I feel more aware that I’m playing the best players in the world. Both of us have an opportunity to win,” Osaka said, noting how her approach to winning and losing has changed.

“I’ve trained so hard since giving birth, I need to enjoy these moments … I do feel different. I mean, of course I feel sad, but the sadness is me being like, ‘Aww, I wish I could have done better, because I know I’m spending so much time away from [Shai], so I want it to be worth it somehow.

“For me even stepping on the court is a personal win because a couple of weeks ago I was even doubting if I could play with everyone. So I guess these two matches that I’ve had kind of prove to me that I am doing OK, and the year is just going to get better for me.”

Naomi Osaka returned to tennis and returned to winning on Monday, defeating Tamara Korpatsch in the first round of the Brisbane International.

After taking a 6-3 win in the first set, she was broken while serving for the match 5-3 in the second set. Eventually, she won the second set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (9). It was Osaka’s first win since giving birth to a daughter, Shai, in July.

Following the Brisbane International, Osaka will head to Melbourne for the 2024 Australian Open. The two-time Australian Open champion previously said that the year’s first Grand Slam would mark her return to tennis.

“I was super nervous the whole time,” the former No. 1-ranked Osaka said after her win. “A part of me felt like Shai was watching me. I wanted to do my best for her.”

And while the win didn’t come easy, Osaka looked sharp for someone who took a 15-month hiatus to give birth.

“Looking back on the match now, honestly I’m very proud of myself,” said Osaka. “I feel like I played at a pretty good level.”

Osaka is also looking at the sport differently than she did before.

“The last couple of years that I played before I had my daughter, I didn’t return as much love as I was given,” Osaka said. “I feel like that’s what I want to do in this chapter.

“I just really appreciate people coming out and knowing me and cheering for me, because I feel like there was a time I was just a little kid trying to watch my role models play. So it feels really surreal sometimes to be playing on these courts.”

Elsewhere, US Open champion Coco Gauff won her opener at the Auckland Tennis Classic, while World No. 1 Iga

Naomi Osaka took to the practice court Wednesday ahead of her return to tennis at the Brisbane International.

The former world No. 1 is set to make her WTA comeback at the tournament, which begins Sunday. She spent the last year out on maternity leave, and she gave birth to her daughter Shai in July.

A two-time Australian Open and US Open champion, Osaka pulled out of the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne before revealing her pregnancy. Osaka last competed at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September 2022.

“She’s really pumped, excited to be back in Brisbane,” tournament director Cameron Pearson said Wednesday. “She arrived Christmas morning and was out practicing a few hours later. No Christmas pudding for her, she was straight into it.”

The 26-year-old also spoke Friday about how motherhood has given her a new outlook on the game.

“Being a mum has changed my life a lot. I think it changed my perspective on a lot of things,” Osaka said. “Giving birth was one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through. It’s definitely made me feel like physically I can handle a lot.

“I want to show Shai that she’s capable of everything, so that’s one of my main purposes and main reasons why I want to be back out here.”

But she also has realistic expectations about the Australian Open after having not competed in over a year.

“I’ve given myself the biggest chance to do well, but at the same time, I haven’t had any match play,” Osaka said. “I’m just embracing the fact that it’s my first tournament in a very long time. I’m just trying to have fun and do well at the same time.”

Osaka received a wild-card entry to the tournament. The field also includes reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, US Open champion Coco Gauff, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and Sloane Stephens in the 54-player women’s draw.

A tennis player once again topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid female athletes, with Iga Swiatek taking over the top spot.

She becomes just the fourth athlete to top the list after Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Maria Sharapova. Both Williams and Osaka had maintained a hold on the list in recent years, with Osaka taking the top spot in 2022. But Williams has retired and Osaka sat out the 2023 season to have her first child, leaving the top spot for Swiatek.

The 22-year-old Polish tennis player brought in an estimated $23.9 million in 2023, which included $9.9 million in on-court earnings after winning the women’s singles title at the French Open. She also added four new endorsement deals.

Twelve of the 20 highest-paid women athletes play tennis, as well as nine of the top 10. Eileen Gu, who came in second on the list, is the only non-tennis player to feature inside the top 10. She made $22.1 million in 2023, with the majority of her earnings coming from endorsements.

Coco Gauff, who won the 2023 US Open, placed third on the list with an estimated $21.7 million in earnings.

Even despite her break, Osaka still sits at fifth on the list having brought in $15 million in endorsements. She’s set to make her return to competitive tennis in the new year, which will include an appearance at the Australian Open.

Combined, the top 20 earners made roughly $226 million in 2023. It’s a drop from the $258 million made in 2022, but the retirement of Williams, who made $41.3 million last year, played a large part in the decrease. Still, the median for the top 20 earners increased from last year to $8.5 million (up from $7.3 million), and eight athletes surpassed $10 million. That number matches last year’s total – which set a record – and is double the number from 2021.

Other athletes inside the top 20 include golfer Nelly Korda, U.S. women’s national soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, gymnast Simone Biles and WNBA star Candace Parker.

After taking a prolonged hiatus from tennis beginning in 2022, Naomi Osaka has announced that she plans to return to the court in 2024. And she’s bringing other passions with her.

In May 2021, Osaka withdrew from the French Open after becoming the highest paid woman athlete in the world just one year prior. The tennis star cited her absence as a time to work on her mental health — Osaka wrote that she experienced “long bouts of depression” on social media. 

“I know where I come from, and I’m so grateful to be here and to be doing the things that I’m doing,” Osaka said. “But for some reason, I just still felt kind of down in the past years of my life.”

Osaka’s most recent tennis match came in September 2022 at the Pan Pacific Open in Japan. Now, 15 months and one childbirth later, she’s announced her plan to return to the tennis court. And along the way, she’s advocating for the destigmatization of mental health and for more paid leave — and more compassion in general — for new mothers. 

“I’m fortunate to have the support to go back to work on my own terms, in my own time,” Osaka told InStyle. “So many American parents don’t have that choice, but we all deserve it. It has definitely motivated me to speak up about the lack of paid leave and to advocate for new moms in this country.”

Osaka told InStyle about her other aspirations beyond her tennis and her mental health advocacy, including fashion and storytelling. She attends basketball games in fashionable outfits and sheds light on unseen struggles on her mental health video series, “Can’t Wait to Hear From You,” started by her media company, Hana Kuma. 

But she made one thing clear — when she returns to the court, she intends to play like a champion every time. Osaka’s coach, Wim Fissette, best summed up her mindset for her reemergence into the world of tennis. 

“It’s not about coming back,” Fissette said. “She really wants to see how good she can possibly be.”

Alex Morgan is the most marketable athlete in women’s sports in 2023.

The U.S. women’s national team star also stands as the third-most marketable athlete in the world behind Lionel Messi and LeBron James, according to SportsPro’s new ranking, which assesses athletes’ personal brand and reach.

Fellow USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe (No. 5) joins Morgan in the top five. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin (No. 6) and gymnast Simone Biles (No. 8) also rank in the top 10. From the world of tennis, newly-minted US Open champion Coco Gauff sits at No. 12 and Naomi Osaka at No. 14.

LSU star Angel Reese (No. 19) is the lone women’s basketball player on the list. She catapulted to stardom after leading the Tigers to their first national title in program history in 2023.

In total, 23 women are included among SportsPro’s top 50 most marketable athletes for 2023. In the World Cup year, Morgan and Rapinoe both jumped up the list, with the former up from eighth place and the latter up from 27th.

Serena Williams, who has since retired, dropped off the list, while Osaka and Australian soccer star Sam Kerr dropped out of the top 10.

This year’s list “underlines the growing commercial influence and value of women’s sport,” according to SportsPro. For the first time, qualitative research was included with quantitative marketability measurements to help determine the final rankings.

“This year’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list follows the most comprehensive assessment of athlete marketability we’ve ever undertaken in the 14-year history of SportsPro’s annual ranking,” said Michael Long, editorial director at SportsPro.

Naomi Osaka is planning to stay busy in 2024.

The four-time Grand Slam champion gave birth to her first child, daughter Shai, in July. While she has not played in 2023, she plans to make her comeback next year — and when she does, she wants to up her game.

Osaka, 25, aims to make her return at the Australian Open, she told ESPN on Wednesday. And from there, she will be playing in “way more tournaments than I used to play.”

“I think some people will be happy with that,” she said, noting that she trained as much as she could during pregnancy, including hitting with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf.

“I think it’s because I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of play and I think I have to ease into it. So at the very least, I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year.”

The former world No. 1 has won the Australian Open twice, including her most recent major title in 2021. Osaka said that her pregnancy, which she announced at the beginning of this year, helped her realize that she “definitely” missed competing.

“I’ve been watching matches and I’m like, ‘I wish I was playing too,’” Osaka said. “But I’m in this position now and I’m very grateful. I really love my daughter a lot, but I think it really fueled a fire in me.”

Naomi Osaka is officially a mom.

The tennis star welcomed a baby girl with boyfriend Cordae in Los Angeles, People magazine reported. Osaka and her daughter are both “doing well,” a source told the magazine.

Osaka announced her pregnancy in January, ahead of the Australian Open.

“The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it’s the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun. 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,” she wrote.

“I realize that life is so short and I don’t take any moments for granted, every day is a new blessing and adventure. 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 one of my matches and tell someone, ‘that’s my mom,’ haha,” Osaka continued.

She revealed in June that she was expecting a baby girl with a princess-themed baby shower.

Earlier this year, Osaka shared that she hadn’t had many cravings “out of the ordinary” throughout her pregnancy, and that her and Cordae had been discussing “something more unique than traditional” when it came to a name.

“I would say for me, I just want to be the best version of myself. Obviously, I’ve never been a mother before so I’m taking it day-by-day and just trying to be someone that my son or daughter will be proud of,” she told People.

The four-time Grand Slam champion hit back at critics in May, calling out the double standard that exists for women athletes who have kids. Elina Svitolina, who gave birth last October, is currently on a run at Wimbledon – recently knocking off No. 1 Iga Swiatek to reach the semifinal. Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki just announced her return to tennis after having two children.

“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,” Osaka tweeted.

Osaka plans to make her competitive return at the 2024 Australian Open.