Former Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka Withdraws from Australian Open

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No reason was given for Osaka’s withdrawal from the tournament, as she joins a number of stars who have already withdrawn.

Two-time champion Naomi Osaka has pulled out from this year’s Australian Open, tournament organisers announced, just eight days before the start of the tournament.

“Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023,” the Australian Open tweeted.

The former No. 1 champion, who has not played on the WTA Tour since September and has slipped to 42 in the world rankings, was not listed to play in warm-up tournaments in Adelaide or Hobart.

No reason was given for the 25-year-old’s withdrawal from the tournament, which will begin on January 16 in Melbourne. Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska will move into the main draw in the Japanese player’s place, organisers said.

Osaka, a winner in 2019, 2020, and 2021, pulled out of the French Open in May 2021 after revealing she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first major championship in 2018.

In September 2021, she announced she would take some time away from tennis and made several highly publicised disclosures about her struggles with mental health following an incident in August 2021, where she was visibly stressed and emotional while addressing the media during an obligatory news conference at Roland Garros.

Osaka’s most recent season has been marred by injury and illness. Last January, she withdrew from the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament with an abdominal injury, and in June, withdrew from Wimbledon because of an Achilles tendon injury.

The four-time Grand Slam champion also pulled out from her opening match of the Canadian Open with a back injury in August and in September, equally withdrew from Tokyo’s Pan Pacific Open due to illness.

Osaka joins a number of notable players who have already withdrawn from the Australian Open, including 42-year-old seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who withdrew from the women’s singles due to an injury, and Spain’s world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, 19, who is out with a leg injury.

There are question marks over the fitness of Britain’s Emma Raducanu, who rolled her ankle at the ASB Classic Thursday and was forced to quit midway through a match, and women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who withdrew from the Adelaide International 2 tournament Saturday due to a shoulder injury.