Naomi Osaka withdraws from the Australian Open

Naomi Osaka RETIRED from Australian Open as two-time champion becomes latest big name to pull the pin

Two-time champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open, organizers of the first Grand Slam of the season, which begins on January 16, have announced without explaining why.

The former Japanese world no.

‘Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss them at #AO2023,” the Australian Open tweeted. ‘Dayana Yastremska moves into the peloton.’

Osaka, the 2019 and 2021 Melbourne Park champion, has not played on the WTA Tour since she retired due to illness from her match against Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September.

Her withdrawal comes a day after seven-time American Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was ruled out of the Australian Open because of an injury in a double whammy against organizers.

Osaka, who has slipped to 42 in the world rankings, had taken a break to prioritize her mental health after skipping the 2021 French Open and later said she was battling depression.

The 25-year-old’s non-appearance in Melbourne will only add to concerns that the four-time Grand Slam champion might not return to the tennis court at all.

Osaka went on mental hiatus after sitting out the 2021 French Open and later revealed she had struggled with depression and anxiety for several years.

Her Instagram has been quiet, but she recently posted a series of photos from vacationing in Europe with her rapper boyfriend Cordae from back in October when he was on tour.

One of the pictures she released showed the couple in Paris, France, posing in front of the famous Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre.

The absence of 2022 Australian Open champion Ash Barty, who has opted to retire, along with Serena Williams and Roger Federer already mean some of the sport’s biggest names will have no part in the season-opening slam, a lot to the chagrin of the organizers.

Osaka’s form, or lack thereof, has seen her lose to Danielle Collins in straight sets in the first round of her last three tournaments, including the 2022 final slam, the US Open.

The draw for the Australian Open will take place next Thursday.

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Maureen Mackey

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