9 Jan 2023

Former champion Osaka withdraws from Australian Open

6:18 am on 9 January 2023

Two-time champion Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the Australian Open, tournament organisers have confirmed.

26th July 2021; Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan;  2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, tennis competition;    Naomi Osaka JPN

Naomi Osaka. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

No reason was given for the sudden withdrawal which adds to the growing list of star casualties.

The Japanese former world number one's name was on the entry list for the Australian Open but Osaka was not scheduled to play in warm-up tournaments in Adelaide and Hobart, raising doubts about her participation in the hardcourt major.

"Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023," the Australian Open tweeted. "Dayana Yastremska moves into the main draw."

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

Her withdrawal comes a day after American seven-times Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was ruled out of the Australian Open due to injury in a double blow to the organisers.

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