Two-time champion out of Australian Open
Former world number one Naomi Osaka, 25, has withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open just over a week before the start of the first Grand Slam event of 2023.
Osaka, winner of the Australian Open in both 2019 and 2021, has plummeted to number 42 in the world rankings and has not appeared in a WTA tour-level match since last September.
No reason was given for her withdrawal from the event. Ukrainian player Dayana Yastremska has been promoted to the tournament in place of the former champion.
Osaka has not been seen in action on the court since she retired from her second-round match at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she was the defending champion, and has won just a single completed tennis match since last May.
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023 💙— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 8, 2023
Last year also saw her beaten in the first round of three high-profile tournaments, including the US Open, before the Tokyo event.
She was also defeated in the opening round of the French Open, while she pulled out of Wimbledon in June after citing problems related to an achilles tendon injury.
In May 2021, Osaka also withdrew from the French Open and later explained to the media that she had been suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety since her rise to prominence in the sport.
The following September, she revealed that she was taking an extended hiatus from tennis.
The Japanese player joins the likes of Venus Williams, Simona Halep and Carlos Alcaraz as high-profile absentees from the Melbourne event, though Novak Djokovic will take part after missing last year’s tournament following his deportation from Australia, where he was found to be non-compliant with the country’s Covid-19 vaccination protocols.