Naomi Osaka Raises Injury Concerns Ahead of Australian Open 2021

Published 02/05/2021, 8:24 PM EST
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Naomi Osaka of Japan speaks to media following her Women’s Singles third round defeat to Coco Gauff of the United States of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)


The first Major of 2021 is right around the corner, and so players are getting more cautious about their fitness. As a result, a lot of players are withdrawing from the lead-up tournaments. Japanese Naomi Osaka has taken a similar step ahead of the Australian Open.

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Citing a niggling injury, the three-time Grand Slam champion pulled out from the semifinal clash against Elise Mertens in the Gippsland Trophy. This gives the Belgian a ticket to the final without having to beat one of the best players on the tour.

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Gippsland Trophy

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The 2019 Australian Open champion wants to leave her mark on the calendar this year. For her to do so, she needs to be 100% before going in to play for the Australian Open 2021 title.

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates in her Women’s Semi-Final match against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during day 11 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2019, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Therefore, Naomi Osaka has decided to skip the semifinals match so that her Happy Slam preparations do not get hampered. Such decisions play a significant role in deciding the results of a Major.

Naomi stated, “Sorry to Tennis Australia and the fans to have to withdraw today. I have a niggling injury and in light of the AO on the horizon, I need to be cautious. I look forward to competing next week.”

However, players usually need only two to three competitive matches to prepare for a Major. And Naomi has got that much needed-experience to excel in the tournament, and with a well-managed schedule, she will only improve her chances as the favorite.

Apart from Osaka, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are among others who withdrew from their semifinal match.

Will a niggling injury affect Naomi’s Australian Open campaign?

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Tennis – Yarra Valley Classic – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her quarter-final match against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu REUTERS/Loren Elliott

A niggling injury is a common side-effect of playing back-to-back competitive matches. And it is not usually even a threat, but the Japanese does not want to take any risks.

She will be fit and running in time as the Australian Open begins on Monday, February 8. Considering her place in the draw, Osaka has a lot of work to do to retain the Happy Slam.

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Purav Joshi

1249 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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