Naomi Osaka of Japan has pulled out of the semi-final of an Australian Open warm-up tournament due to injury, but the defending champion insists she will still compete in the Grand Slam.
Following the US Open, the 24-year-old returned to competition in Australia after a four-month layoff. Due to an abdominal issue, she had to withdraw from the Melbourne Summer Set. “I’m going to recover and prepare for the Australian Open,” Osaka said, which starts on January 17th.
On Twitter, Osaka wrote: “My body had a shock from playing back-to-back intense matches following the break I took, thus I had to withdraw from my match today due to injury. I’ll try to get some rest and see you soon!”
After losing in the third round of the US Open against eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez, the four-time Grand Slam champion took an indefinite retirement from tennis.
That followed a tumultuous year in which she refused to conduct press conferences at the French Open to preserve her mental health, eventually withdrawing from the tournament, skipping Wimbledon, and claiming she had suffered from anxiety and despair.
Osaka, who is now ranked 13th in the world, stated that her major goal for 2022 is to “have fun” on the court. At the Melbourne event, she had won her first three matches.
Source: BBC Sport