Australian Open 2023: Two-time Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka on Sunday pulled out from the first Grand Slam of the year 2023, organisers informed. Japan's Osaka, who had won the event in 2019 and 2021, was on the official entry list for the tournament but was in doubt to participate as she was not scheduled to play in the warm-up tournaments in Adelaide and Hobart. There was no elaboration provided by the tournament organisers about Osaka's withdrawal.
"Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023. Dayana Yastremska moves into the main draw,” the Australian Open tweeted. Osaka has been out of action for about four months. She has not played in a WTA tour since withdrawing from the Pan Pacific Open's second round in September due to illness.
Osaka's development adds on blows to the tournament as a couple of more star players will be out of action in Australia. USA veteran Venus Williams pulled out of the tournament due to an injury on Saturday, while World No.1 Tennis player and US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz pulled out on Friday due to a right leg issue.
The 42-year-old Venus, who is a two-time finalist at Melbourne Park, got injured during the ASB Classic tournament in Auckland, the organizers informed. "Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to an injury sustained at the ASB Classic in New Zealand. Australia’s Kim Birrell will be awarded her wildcard place," the organizers of the Australian Open wrote on Twitter.
Carlos Alcaraz who had a breakthrough in 2022 suffered a leg injury during the pre-season and will now sit out of the tournament. This is the second year in a row that the World No.1 player won’t be playing at the Australian Open after Novak Djokovic missed out in 2022 due to his unvaccinated status. Australian Open 2023's main rounds begin on January 16.