As the first Grand Slam tournament of 2023 approaches, the status of one of the tennis’ biggest names is still unclear.
Naomi Osaka has won the Australian Open twice – in 2019 and 2021 – but may not take part in the upcoming 2023 tournament.
The 25-year-old has not played since September and is also not slated to play in any warm-up events, raising further questions regarding her availability.
The Sporting News takes a look at the Japanese star’s status ahead of the Australian Open.
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Will Naomi Osaka play at the Australian Open in 2023?
Naomi Osaka is named on the official 2023 entry list for the women’s singles draw at the Australian Open.
Whilst being on the entry list does not guarantee a player’s participation, it is typically a solid indicator of a competitor’s availability.
However, Osaka’s availability is in question due to a notable lack of recent playing time.
She last played a match in September of 2022 where she withdrew from the Japan Open in the second round with an abdominal problem.
The four-time Grand Slam singles champion is also not scheduled to appear at any WTA tournaments in the weeks leading up to the Australian Open.
Players typically use those events as tune-up opportunities before they head to Melbourne Park.
In an Instagram post published on December 29, Osaka was pictured in France with her partner Cordae.
Generally speaking, there has been no indication on social media that she is preparing for the Australian summer of tennis.
The former world No. 1 was also recently tagged in a photo from a pilates studio in Los Angeles, but Tennis Australia officials are unable to confirm her current location, according to Wide World of Sports.
Naomi Osaka injury and mental health history
Osaka has spent a notable amount of time away from the court in recent years, dealing with a number of injuries and focusing on her mental health.
She has publicly disclosed her struggles with mental health, opting not to participate in press conferences at the French Open in 2021.
The Japanese ace later pulled out of Roland Garros before withdrawing from Wimbledon that same year.
In a Twitter post, Osaka detailed her decision to make such a move after refusing to talk to the media and revealed that she has “suffered long bouts of depression” since the 2018 U.S. Open.
On the injury front, Osaka’s 2022 season was particularly impacted.
She pulled out of the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament last January with an abdominal concern before that same problem forced her to retire from the Japan Open in September.
In between those tournaments, she was forced to skip the whole grass court season with an Achilles injury and also withdrew from the Canadian Open with a back injury.
Naomi Osaka ranking
Due to her recent lack of playing time, Osaka is currently ranked No. 42 in the women’s singles standings.
She reached a career-high ranking of No. 1 after winning her first Australian Open in 2019, a position she maintained for six months.
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Osaka dropped out of the top 10 in 2022 after missing significant chunks of time due to injuries and mental health breaks.
Naomi Osaka Australian Open record
Since making her debut in 2016, Osaka has not missed a tournament at Melbourne Park.
She reached the third round on her first attempt before taking the trophy home on her fourth attempt.
In 2021 she became a two-time champion at just 23 years old.
Her last Australian Open appearance saw her eliminated in the third round after she suffered a surprise defeat to Amanda Anisimova.
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