Is Naomi Osaka Playing at Indian Wells 2021?

Published 09/30/2021, 2:00 PM EDT
Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits to Leylah Fernandez of Canada on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has pulled out from the 2021 Indian Wells. It was an expected decision as Osaka had indicated her plans to take an extended break following her third-round loss at the 2021 US Open.

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A week ago, the official Twitter account of Indian Wells announced Osaka’s withdrawal from the tournament. The Japanese tennis star had won her first-ever WTA title at Indian Wells in 2018.

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“2018 Champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from #BNPPO21. We look forward to seeing you in 2022, Naomi,” said the official account of Indian Wells on Twitter. The event is scheduled to begin from October 4th after being delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Naomi Osaka pulls out of Indian Wells

For Osaka, the last couple of months have been tumultuous on the personal and the professional fronts. It all started at this year’s French Open. Osaka declared there that she wouldn’t attend press conferences since they had a negative impact on her mental health.

After her first-round French Open win, the 23-year-old revealed that she was suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety in a lengthy post on social media. Subsequently, she announced her withdrawal from the French Open and also Wimbledon, a few weeks later.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Osaka of Japan looks dejected during her match against Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the third round of the women’s singles at the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Following a two-month break, Osaka returned on the tour. However, mental health issues continued to affect her throughout the season. She faced premature exits in the third round of the Tokyo Olympic and the US Open.

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“I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match,” said Osaka after crashing out of the US Open. Hence, her latest withdrawal from the upcoming Indian Wells is unsurprising.

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Apart from Osaka, World No.1 Ashleigh Barty, Sofia Kenin, and 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic have also withdrawn from Indian Wells. With just a handful of events left this season, uncertainty looms over whether Osaka will compete at any of the remaining tournaments.

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Kshitij Tayal

490 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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