MELBOURNE: Naomi Osaka said on Friday she has no plans to ease herself back into the tour after returning from a 15-month absence with the double Australian Open champion already planning a jam-packed schedule for the season ahead.

Osaka gave birth to daughter Shai in July and returned to action for the first time since September 2022 in Brisbane this month, where she beat Tamara Korpatsch before losing in three sets to fellow former world number one Karolina Pliskova.

Ahead of her return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open, which she won in 2019 and 2021, the 26-year-old Japanese player said she could even play as many events as she did as a teenager.

“I’m definitely thinking this year that I want to play a lot of tournaments,” Osaka told reporters.

“I might go back to the schedule I had when I was 18 or something. “I think right now I really need to play a lot of matches and it will probably condition me to at least have a really good end of the year.

For me right now, my schedule’s kind of packed with the tournaments that I want to play.

New mother Osaka makes winning return in Brisbane

“Definitely my body’s a lot different from I guess before Shai. I think I also had to adjust my play style a lot.” Osaka faces 16th seed Caroline Garcia first in the year’s opening major, which begins on Sunday, and is under no illusions about the task at hand. “She’s seeded.

Whenever I play her, I always think she’s an incredible player.

She has every shot a top-five player needs,“ Osaka added.

“My immediate thought was, OK this is tough but I definitely think I can achieve what I want to.

Hopefully during the match I’m able to have things go my way.

“In a weird way I’m glad I’m playing a seed so hopefully, if I get through that, the next match won’t be as difficult.”


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