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Tennis: Naomi Osaka to make comeback at Brisbane International in December

Brisbane : Former world No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka is set to kick off her 2024 comeback at the Brisbane International in December, six months after she gave birth to her daughter.

The 26-year-old Japanese announced her pregnancy in January earlier this year and gave birth to her daughter Shai in July.

The four-time major champion has not played a tournament on the WTA Tour since the September 2022 Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo. Brisbane, a WTA 500 event that begins on December 31, will be Osaka’s first tournament of the new season.

“I am really excited about getting back out on court and competing. I always love starting my season in Brisbane and can’t wait to return,” said Osaka, who made back-to-back semifinal appearances at the Brisbane International in 2019 and 2020.

“The Brisbane International is such a great tournament and will set me up for a brilliant comeback this summer,” she added.

As well as Osaka’s return, Brisbane International organisers have confirmed two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka joining Osaka in the women’s WTA 500 tournament, which has increased in size to 48 main-draw players.

World No.22 Azarenka boasts an impressive 15-2 win-loss record at the Brisbane International, winning the title in 2009 and 2016.

Former world No.1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Murray will feature in the men’s ATP 250 field, alongside eight-time ATP singles winner and Brisbane International 2017 champion Dimitrov.

The Brisbane International will return after a three-year hiatus following the Covid-19 pandemic and act as preparation for the 2024 Australian Open.

“It’s great to see the Brisbane International back and I am really looking forward to returning to Queensland this summer,” Murray said. “I have great memories of winning the title in 2012 and 2013 and I would love to lift the trophy again for a third time in Brisbane.”

A record $3.1 million in prize money is on offer when the combined WTA 500 and ATP 250 tournament returns to the Queensland Tennis Centre from December 31 to January 7.

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