Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open just a week out from the Slam’s outset.
The two-time champion has not played competitively since Tokyo’s Pan Pacific Open in September and was not named on an entry list to finalise her AO preparations in Adelaide or Hobart next week.
During the second round of the Pan Pacific Open, the 25-year-old pulled out with abdominal pain and has only won two of her last nine matches, including a first-round exit at the US Open.
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Osaka won the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021, and the US Open in 2018 and 2020.
With Venus William also announcing her omission from the tournament on Saturday, the women’s draw has quickly lost its two most successful entrants and biggest drawcards.
Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska will move into the women’s draw.
Leading tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg said the move from Osaka was “not a surprise” with tournament organisers left in the lurch to the No.42’s whereabouts.
Rothenberg said the withdrawal raised concerns for Osaka’s future in the sport.
“Just two years removed from her second title there (in Melbourne) — her fourth Slam title overall — the outlook for Naomi’s career is uncertain,” he said.
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