The Japanese player's comeback is about to resume. Osaka is set to play at the Abu Dhabi Open, which starts on February 5th and is a WTA 500 tournament. It's going to be a really strong event with many great players competing, including Osaka who got a singles wild card.
She made her comeback to tennis recently during the events in Australia and played pretty well, earning herself one important win, even though her Australian Open didn't go as well.
After her exit, Osaka admitted that her coach advised her to play as much as possible to get back to her best tennis quickly. Towards that end, Osaka signed up to play some doubles tennis in Abu Dhabi alongside the singles event.
It's an interesting choice because she doesn't generally do that, but the likely thinking is that in case of an early exit from the singles, Osaka still gets a chance to play more tennis, especially since she's pairing up with Ons Jabeur.
The Tunisian herself is a pretty decent doubles player capable of carrying a team, so there is a good chance the duo plays more than just one match at the event. That will give Osaka more time on the tennis court, and she badly needs it.
Martina Navratilova criticized Osaka by explaining how she returned without preparing properly as she wasn't in shape according to the legendary American.
Playing more will help with that, and after all, it's to find her best tennis ahead of the Sunshine Double, where she'll be a dangerous player if she finds her best tennis.
Her doubles participation in Abu Dhabi will also be the first time that Osaka has appeared on the doubles court since 2017 when she paired up with her sister in Tokyo.