(Bloomberg) -- Naomi Osaka is one of the world’s most recognizable and marketable athletes. The Japanese tennis player, who’s lived most her life in the US, is a four-time Grand Slam winner.

She’s been open about her struggles with depression and took a break from the sport starting in 2022. Osaka returned last month in Australia after giving birth to her first child in July.

She spoke to Bloomberg in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 3 about her mental health and her future on and off the court. The 26-year old has been somewhat of a trailblazer, especially among women sports figures, when it comes to investments. Ranked among the highest-paid female athletes, she’s bought stakes in soccer and pickleball teams and has started production and sports-management ventures.

Bloomberg: You played your first Grand Slam for a while last month — the Australian Open — where you lost in the first round. And you got to the second round just before that in Brisbane. How far are you from beating the best players in the world again? 

Obviously, I would’ve wanted to do better in Australia. But I played really great players. I guess going into those tournaments I didn’t want to be losing 6-0. So, I accomplished one of my goals already. But I think I’m at a pretty good level. Hopefully I’m able to pull off some scrappy wins and get the confidence to beat the players I want to beat. Right now, I have to keep playing matches.

Are you already thinking of being back in the world’s top 10 and winning Grand Slams?

I do think about it. I often wonder how long it’ll take me to get to the level I want to be at. My shots are there. It’s more decision-making during the matches. It might take some time. The worst result would be getting there during the US Open [which starts in late August] and the best result would be to get there around the French Open and Wimbledon.

You’ve been very open about your struggles with mental health. Has giving birth to your daughter changed things? Has it made coming back to the tour and handling all the pressures that come with being a top tennis player easier?

Having my daughter Shai has strengthened my mind a lot and made me appreciate a lot of different things. The Australia trip was hard as it was my first trip without her. I also felt a bit sad at the end as I didn’t think I made the time worth it. Being away from her, I wish I could have done better. But I feel that having her was the biggest blessing in my life. It’s incredible to see her grow every day and learn. Hopefully she’ll be happy to have me as a mum.

Beyond your endorsements, you’ve invested in football — in the North Carolina Courage, which plays in the top women’s soccer league in the US  — and in pickleball. You’ve also go your sports’ management and production companies. What was the reason you chose those, and what’s your next investment?

I go toward what I believe in. Investing in women’s sports has always been a really big thing for me. Starting a production company — my dad’s always had cameras around, so story-telling was kind of natural. And knowing that no other female athlete has started a production company was shocking news. I just try to do things that people haven’t done before and learn along the way, even if I stumble — that’s always been my mantra.

Why pickleball and women’s football? Are they just good investments in the long term?

Watching how big female sports have become over the years, investing in the North Carolina Courage wasn’t that difficult a decision. I also just love watching soccer. Pickleball was the unknown for me. It’s been around, but it feels like it just blew up. Learning about it and seeing Lebron [James] invest in it is something that leaned me more toward thinking it was a good idea.

You’ve been described as an athlete-entrepreneur. Is that your goal for even after you retire?

I’ve always been a really curious person, and going through the doors that are opened by being a tennis player is something I’ve found fascinating. I know I won’t be able to play tennis for the next 30 years — an athlete’s lifespan isn’t that long. But I’ve met a lot of incredible people at the top of their businesses and learning from them is fascinating. I want to continue that.

You’re 26 now. Will you be playing into your 30s?

I see myself playing into my 30s. I want to take it for however long I can. I was able to play Serena [Williams] when I was coming up — that was priceless. Hopefully I’m able to play as long as I can so another kid coming up can play me.

Who do you look at in the world of sports for investing and business ideas?

I definitely looked up to Kobe [Bryant] a lot and Lebron, obviously. Serena started her own venture capitalist firm, which I thought was really cool. It’s funny bumping into people doing business. I know Patrick Mahomes is doing a lot and Tom Brady. There are quite a few people.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming tennis players or sportspeople when it comes to money and investments?

I’m not sure they’d want my advice. I’d say there’s no such thing as failure. Everything is a learning opportunity. The biggest thing is to feel strongly in what you’re doing, and you won’t feel as much regret later on.

--With assistance from Gaia Lamperti and Omar Tamo.

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