Osaka initially didn't plan on playing in the Middle East, opting for the Sunshine Double as the next stop in her comeback Tour. The plan was to start off Down Under and then continue in the United States, but it didn't quite go according to plan.
The comeback in Australia was fine, with a decent level, but she didn't play too many matches. To get back into competitive shape, players need matches, something her coach stressed from the start.
Due to not getting as many matches in Australia, the Japanese player listened to her coach's advice and took a wild card entry into the Abu Dhabi Open.
The goal is to get a couple of matches in so that when the Sunshine Double does roll around, she'll be in competitive shape for those WTA 1000 events, which can be crucial for boosting her ranking.
She wasn't in competitive shape Down Under, so more matches are needed, which she confirmed to The National in a recent interview as a reason for changing her mind.
"I guess not doing so well in Australia, which was unfortunate. But I think I need to play as many matches as possible and I’m hoping that I’m able to find a rhythm here."
She even signed up for the doubles, which she hasn't played in six years. The goal is simple: let's get as many matches in as possible, and playing the doubles serves just that purpose.
It's especially important because her singles draw has been quite brutal. She got a qualifier, who turned out to be Danielle Collins. If that wasn't enough, she'll play Elena Rybakina in round two if she wins.
Regardless, it's great to see Osaka fully committed to the comeback.