Naomi Osaka's First Grass-Court Tournament In Five Years Revealed

Naomi Osaka's First Grass-Court Tournament In Five Years Revealed

by Nurein Ahmed

Naomi Osaka returned to the WTA Tour at the beginning of January and promised to feature heavily in the 2024 calendar.

There is some truth to her claim. It is only mid-March, and Osaka has already played in five different tournaments since the turn of the year. The first quarter of the season usually happens on hard courts, which is where Osaka has played all of her tennis since her comeback from maternity.

But following the conclusion of the Sunshine Swing at the end of March, she will turn her attention to clay and then grass. And now her first official tournament on the lawns has been revealed.

Osaka will play at the Eastbourne International, a WTA 500 tournament penciled in the lead-up to Wimbledon. It will be held between June 24th and 29th at Devonshire Park.

The four-time Grand Slam champion has not played on grass courts since 2019, almost five years ago, when she succumbed to a shock first-round defeat to Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

She has an 18-14 lifetime record on the surface. Her best results include reaching the final of the prestigious Surbiton ITF in 2015 and the Nottingham semifinal in 2018. The 26-year-old has also featured four times at Wimbledon but has not advanced beyond the third round.

Osaka has endured a stop-start season so far, winning five of ten matches. Her best result was in reaching the last eight of the Qatar Open. This week, she was beaten by Belgium's Elise Mertens in the third round of Indian Wells.

Osaka is one of two players who have signed up to play in Eastbourne. Defending champion Madison Keys is the other woman. The American did not drop a set en route to her seventh career title last summer.

After an injury-blighted start to 2024, Keys returned to action at the Indian Wells Open but fell in the third-round stage to Putintseva.


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