Naomi Osaka Says She Doesn't Have 'Time to Waste' Since Becoming Mom to Daughter Shai: 'Every Second Counts'

The tennis pro welcomed her daughter last June

<p>Hana Kuma</p> Naomi Osaka

Hana Kuma

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is making sure she prioritizes time with her daughter.

While speaking with tennis pro Nick Kyrgios, 28, on this week's episode of his video podcast series, Good Trouble with Nick Kyrgios, the four-time Grand Slam champion, 26, shared whether becoming a mother has changed the way she approaches tennis. Osaka welcomed daughter Shai with rapper Cordae in July 2023.

"So far like practice wise? I just feel like I don't have time to waste, so I'm trying to be really efficient with everything," Osaka says. "And I think when I was younger I could hit for like three hours and kind of waste time in the middle or whatever."

"But now I know there's someone waiting for me at home and I have to take care of her. So right now I just feel like every second counts."

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<p>Hana Kuma</p> Naomi Osaka, Nick Kyrgios

Hana Kuma

Naomi Osaka, Nick Kyrgios

Related: Naomi Osaka Says She No Longer Has 'Time to Mope' About Losses Since Welcoming Daughter Shai: 'World Moves On'

Osaka expressed similar sentiments after leaving the Australian Open early in January, sharing a statement on Instagram.

"Writing this on my way back home and I have to say that I'm extremely thankful," she began. "I remember last year I wished I had an opportunity to play again on Rod Laver Arena and this year that happened so one of my dreams already came true."

"Currently however my entire being is so disappointed with my result, the standards I set for myself are so incredibly high," Osaka continued. "I try to remind myself that I was pregnant six months ago and I can't expect amazing results from the jump — that doesn't really do much to quell my thoughts though."

"Understanding the importance of time is a skill I improved on after having Shai, things that used to bother me don't bother me anymore," she went on, adding that she hopes this new habit will help her move on from her loss. "I don't have time for it. In that same aspect I feel I don't have time to mope after losses anymore, the world moves on and I have to continue to walk forward."

While she acknowledged it's a "bittersweet feeling" to be leaving so early, Osaka said she's "so happy to go see Shai soon. She's been scooting back and forth lately so I'm relieved I'll be back home in time to see her first crawl ❤️."

Appearing on the cover of InStyle's December digital issue, the new mom opened up about what her life is like as she balances a return to professional tennis and raising Shai.

“I've stepped away from tennis before, but this time, it was the longest duration of my life. And I think it kind of gave me a perspective like, 'Hey, you're not going to play tennis forever. And you kind of have to cherish the years that you can play,'" she noted. 

"I do want to be a good role model for Shai, and I want her to see that this was an important chapter in my life."

Osaka also acknowledged her privilege in choosing the timeline for her return to her career, sharing, "I’m fortunate to have the support to go back to work on my own terms, in my own time."

She continued, "So many American parents don’t have that choice, but we all deserve it. It has definitely motivated me to speak up about the lack of paid leave and to advocate for new moms in this country.”

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