Just one day after men’s world number one Carlos Alcaraz pulled out of the Australian Open, the opening calendar Grand Slam suffered another major setback.
Two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew her name from the event, making the second big name on the women’s draw to pull out.
Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Osaka reigned supreme in 2019 and 2021, but a little over a week out from the start of the 2023 event getting underway pulled the pin on adding to her four Grand Slam trophies.
Dayana Yastremsk will now take her place in the main draw with the draw set to be unveiled on Tuesday.
The former world number one last played in September last year when she withdrew from the second round of an event in Tokyo due to abdominal pain.
it continues a rather horrir run for female winners of the Australian Open with only two of the past 10 winners lining up to play in 2023.
Osaka’s withdrawal comes fresh on the heels of Venus Williams pulling the pin and in the biggest blow to the event, Alcaraz pulling out due to injury.
“I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training,” the 19-year-old Spaniard wrote on his Twitter account.
“I’d worked so hard to get to my best level for Australia but unfortunately I won’t be able to play,” the world’s top-ranked player added.
“It’s tough, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look forward. We’ll see you at the Australian Open in 2024.”
The Australian Open’s official Twitter account wrote in response: “We’re sorry we won’t be seeing you this year @carlosalcaraz Wishing you a swift recovery. See you back on court soon.”
Alcaraz’s withdrawal means defending champion, 22-time major winner and fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal will be promoted to top seed at the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne on January 16.
Novak Djokovic, the nine-time champion and a 21-time Grand Slam title winner, will move into the top four seedings.
That will mean he cannot face old rival Nadal until the semi-finals at the earliest.
Djokovic will return to the Australian Open after being deported from the country last year over his refusal to be vaccinated.