WATCH: Highlights of Iga Swiatek vs. Naomi Osaka in the 2022 Miami Open final.


When the 2023 season starts, Naomi Osaka will be nearly two years removed from a first-place finish at a tournament, with her most recent title coming at the 2021 Australian Open.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride on the court, to say the least, for the former world No. 1 since that Melbourne triumph, with earlier-than-expected losses, injuries and ranking struggles.

With a new year, though, comes the chance to put the past behind her. However, 2022 offered the same opportunity. Will the upcoming campaign be the one that sees Osaka back in the mix for the sport’s biggest prizes?

Osaka gave a glimpse of what’s still possible in the first few months of the year. After failing to defend her Australian Open title, her ranking fell well outside of the top 50. She got a major lift back up the standings with a run to the final at the WTA 1000 event in Miami, where she fell to Iga Swiatek.

The result brought her back into the top 50, and it looked like she was just getting started. She entered the clay-court system with a stated goal of improving on the surface, but was slowed by injury and inconsistency. Missing the grass-court stretch, including Wimbledon, Osaka struggled through the summer hard-court swing, culminating with an opening-round loss at the US Open to Danielle Collins.

Osaka’s efforts to gain any momentum before the end of the year eroded quickly with a second-round withdrawal in Tokyo, due to injury.

As Osaka’s Q score has shot up over the years, so has the scrutiny directed her way when it comes to her mental health. She’s had to struggle with her anxiety in the public eye, but has also brought the issue to the fore, prompting a larger discussion regarding what athletes potentially have to deal with off the field.


Off-court, Osaka was as busy as ever, and just saw the release of her first children’s book, “The Way Champs Play.” She recently made the talk-show rounds, discussing the book and her own self-care.

Given the standard that she set for herself on the court, Osaka’s recent results and future prospects are a mystery. Was 2022 an anomaly, and can she get back among the game’s elite?

An answer to the biggest questions in the women’s game will be coming soon enough.