The Japanese player would have preferred her comeback to be as smooth as possible, but of course, that's not realistic. It's been quite bumpy as both the Brisbane International and the Australian Open didn't quite go according to plan for Osaka.
"Australia has taught me a lot about getting some pretty harsh draws. So hopefully I’ll get my ranking up and I won’t have to play these really great players in the first round."
She had hoped to get as many matches as possible, but she didn't get many, and that's why she's at the WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi. Draws aren't getting easier for her as she got Danielle Collins in the opening round.
Drawing a qualifier was supposed to be a 'better' draw for Osaka, but she got a former Australian Open finalist, showing how competitive the draw is at the 2024 Abu Dhabi Open.
"I always knew that going into this. Because even when I left, I was having tough losses, because mentally I wasn’t really in it. And I know coming back, it’s not like I’m in my 2021 form right away."
If she wins that highly complicated matchup, Osaka will face Elena Rybakina, and that's another tough matchup. In a conversation with The National ahead of the event, Osaka reacted to her tough draw.
"But I’m trying more one day at a time. I know it’s better to play scrappy matches to get into the form where I want to be."
Advancing past Rybakina would be a great start for Osaka as she's way outside of the Top 100 right now. It'll take her a while to get her ranking up, but that won't happen unless she starts winning.
"But for right now, I’m the type of person that, even if I play the No 1 seed, I want myself to win and I kind of expect myself to win, which is the delusion part. But I try not to make too many excuses."