Naomi Osaka extended her exile from the stress of tennis by withdrawing from the Australian Open, officials confirmed on Sunday.
The Japanese two-time champion who all but fled the Tour in 2021 after failing to cope with emotional demands from post-match media conferences. won the event in 2019 and 2021.
She last completed a match at the US Open in September, losing in the first round; she then advanced later that month to the Tokyo second round, handing in a walkover.
“Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023,” Open officials tweeted.
The shy and fragile Osaka has been plagued for years with mental health doubts which apparently render her ill-equipped to deal with the pressure of international sport.
The former No. 1 now ranked 47th has earned only one match win since last May while playing a skeleton schedule.
She joins men’s No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz on the sidelines after the Spanish teenager withdrew with a leg injury suffered in recent days during training.