Naomi Osaka entry into Australian Open in doubt

Naomi Osaka Credit: Alamy
Naomi Osaka Credit: Alamy

Organisers of the Australian Open are reportedly unable to contact Naomi Osaka to confirm her entry in the 2023 tournament.

Osaka is yet to confirm her entry into the tournament and has not opted to play any WTA tournaments so far this year.

Her absence might suggest that she isn’t going to turn up in Melbourne but she remains on the entry list.

According to a report from Channel 9 Wide World of Sports, Tennis Australia are unable to verify the whereabouts of the two-time former champion.

Those following Osaka’s social media profiles have noted that she has been travelling with her on-again off-again boyfriend rapper Cordae.

She was briefly in France last week, but has since been confirmed to be back in Los Angeles.

Osaka hasn’t featured on tour since her retirement at her home event in Tokyo back in September 2022.

Despite being a two-time former champion of the Australian Open few would have picked her as a pre-tournament favourite.

Osaka’s form has fallen off a cliff since she pulled out of the 2021 French Open and took a mental health break.

After her exit from the US Open, Osaka said that she felt restrained in her game and like tennis wasn’t fun for her anymore.

“Honestly, like, the main goal was just to have fun. I don’t know. I think that was kind of accomplished.

“Of course, it’s more fun to win more rounds. We’re just, I don’t know, kind of winging it.

“I think for me, when I think about having fun, it’s like I don’t feel restrained. Lately I felt really restrained. I’m not really sure why. I’m beginning to feel like I can’t hit the shots that I know I can, like especially on my forehand.

“I don’t know if it’s a matter of practicing more or something like that. I just don’t have the same feeling. So maybe I need to watch like Alcaraz or someone that’s really good at hitting forehands.

“I would just say being able to be confident in my shots is what makes it’s fun for me.”

Osaka’s ability to enjoy her game has been seriously hampered by her injury struggles.

Injuries prevented her from gaining any momentum in 2022 which also piled additional pressure onto a player already struggling to cope with life on the top tour.

Osaka would be a great addition to any tournament if she is at her best but needs to find a way to regain her enjoyment of the sport before that will happen.

It now looks unlikely that she will accept a place in the Australian Open draw.

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