Is it time to start getting concerned about Naomi Osaka?
Two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Australian Open in a concerning turn of events. Osaka, 25, has not played in a tournament since September 2021. She sat out that same year to take a mental health break after sitting out the French Open and later revealed how she was struggling to cope with anxiety and depression.
Once ranked at the top of the WTA(Women’s Tennis Association) rankings, Osaka now ranks 47th. Osaka has only one match since May, and that was against Australian Daria Saville who had suffered a torn ACL in Tokyo. In her previous three competitions, Osaka has been eliminated in the first round three times, including the US Open, which she has won twice.
Osaka’s withdrawal from the tournament is a huge blow to Open organizers dealing with the retirements of legends such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and the shocking retirement of last year’s reigning champion Ash Barty.
Osaka wasn’t the only big named player to withdraw from the event, the current men's No.1, Carlos Alcatraz withdrew on Saturday as well after suffering a hamstring injury that would prevent him from performing at the event.
The four-time Grand Slam champion is one of the best in the world when at her best, but with her long hiatus from the court with mental health struggles, is it safe to say she’s no longer interested or as passionate about continuing her tennis career? That’s a question Osaka will have to answer for herself.