With just over a week until the start of the tournament, Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Australian Open on Saturday.
Osaka, 25, did not make a statement about the reasoning for her choice, which comes after a recent wave of withdrawals owing to injuries from the previous year. Following her withdrawal from Wimbledon in June due to an Achilles injury, the former champion missed the Toray Pan Pacific Open in September due to illness.
She had been set to play a second round match against Beatriz Haddad Maia at the September tournament when she spoke about the news in a press conference, according to the World Tennis Association.
“It’s an honor to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan,” Osaka said. “This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won’t let me. Thank you for all your support this week and I will see you next year.”
Formerly ranked No.1 by the WTA, the tennis star has won both the Australian and U.S. opens twice between 2018 to 2021. Osaka made headlines in May 2021 when she announced she would not compete at the French Open, citing anxiety over post-match press conferences.
“I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly,” Osaka said at the time. “The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
In an essay written for Time magazine, Osaka expanded on her decision by saying she has a good relationship with the media but finds the press conference format outdated. She said she prefers more “peer to peer” interactions with reporters.