Naomi Osaka has reflected on battling self-doubt and difficult thoughts as a new mother.
The four-time Grand Slam tennis champion gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Shai, in July 2023. She shares Shai with her partner, rapper Cordae.
On Sunday (22 October), Osaka shared some insights into her personal life with her fans to mark turning 26 earlier in the week.
In an extended post on X, formerly Twitter, the Japanese athlete wrote about taking stock of her life so far, and wondering whether or not she’s taken the “correct path”.
“I often try to retrace my steps to figure out how did I end up here,” she explained. “I know I say this often but I truly still feel like that kid playing on public courts in Queens, NY.
“Randomly I wonder if I’m doing OK, is there a correct path to take in life or have I veered off onto the scenic route for a little bit? However, I’ve now come into the mindset that I can only keep moving forward and everything that will be, will be.”
Osaka then shared her specific feelings of worry about her capabilities as a parent.
“Something I had to conquer recently is fighting the thought that I won’t be a good mom,” she wrote. “So many doubts raced through my head I had to swat them away like mosquitoes.
“Looking into Shai’s eyes and holding her I always think, ‘Wow this little person depends on me so much, I have to do better.’ It’s such a strange feeling watching your kid grow, you blink and they’re double the size in a few months.
“Gratefulness reminds me to breathe and take in the little things (and the big ones).”
Osaka ended her post by expressing her gratitude for having “another year” and for the people who support her.
Osaka’s last competitive match was at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in September 2022, before she withdrew from the tournament due to abdominal pain.
She announced her pregnancy in January 2023 shortly after stating that she wouldn’t be competing in the Australian Open later that month.
“The whole process, it felt long and short at the same time,” she told the American sports news channel ESPN.
“When I stepped away, it was Tokyo, that was the last tournament I played. I just remember watching the Australian Open and being very devastated, because I’ve never missed an Australian Open.
“When I was watching Serena and Venus [Williams], I was thinking, ‘Ah, I probably no way will ever play at their age’, but sitting here, I’m like, ‘You know what? I might do that actually.’”