In the lead-up to the first major of the year, defending Australian Open champion, Naomi Osaka, will be starting the 2022 season in Victoria, playing at the Melbourne Summer Series, according to the player’s entry list revealed Friday by the WTA Tour.
On Thursday, Noami Osaka shared her first training sessions videos through her social media accounts, though she is yet to comment on the news.
Nonetheless, the summer of tennis in Australia is ready to welcome the four-time Grand Slam champion in Victoria to contest the Series tournaments, comprising three events ahead of the first Grand Slam of the 2022 season, the Australian Open.
Early in January, two women’s venues (WTA 250) will host 20 of the world’s Top 50 players, including world No. 13 Osaka, former world number one Simona Halep, U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, as Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova - among other names in action at Melbourne Park.
Moreover, the Summer Series would mark the 24-year-old Japanese official return to the tennis court since her third-round loss to eventual finalist Canadian Leylah Fernandez back in September.
The former world number one first broke into the Top 10 in 2018; during that year, she defeated 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams at the U.S. Open final, claiming her first career major, ending the season ranked number five.
Osaka continued to raise her level kicking off her 2019 season, overcoming Petra Kvitova, earning victory at the Australian Open final.
In 2020, a year disrupted by the global pandemic, the young player became the 20th woman to win three or more majors in the Open Era as she captured her third Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in New York.
In February 2021, she clinched the AO title for the second time in her career, toppling ranked No. 22, Jennifer Brady, in straight sets at the championship match.
Later in September, Osaka decided to take some time away from tennis to focus on her mental health.
NADAL BACK ON TOUR
On the men’s side, the third event, an ATP 250 tournament, will feature world number six, Rafael Nadal, back on Tour.
The Spaniard has been recovering from a lingering foot injury which forced the 20-time Grand Slam champion to end his 2021 season early.
The Melbourne Summer Set will run from January 3-9, 2022.