Naomi Osaka pulls out of home event with suspected abdominal injury

Naomi Osaka arrives on court

Former World No 1 Naomi Osaka just can’t catch a break right now as she pulls out of her home Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo after complaining of abdominal pain on Thursday.

The four-time was set to play Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round later but withdrew from the event saying her “body won’t let” her compete.

“It’s an honour to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan,” Osaka said in a statement released by organisers.

“This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won’t let me.”

“Thank you for all your support this week and I will see you next year,” she added.

Osaka, was looking to end a poor run of form in Tokyo, where she is the defending champion from the last time the tournament was staged back in 2019.

She has dropped to World No 48 in the women’s world rankings after a wretched run that saw her crash out in the first round of her previous three tournaments.

Osaka’s first-round match in Tokyo against Australia’s Daria Saville lasted just seven minutes before her opponent collapsed with an injured knee.

Saville retired from the match and was later found to have torn her anterior cruciate ligament.

Osaka admitted on Monday that she had gone through “more down than up” this year.

“This year has been not the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself,” she said, adding that she was “happy to be healthy”.

“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

The 24-year-old has been outside the top 10 for the entire 2022 season to date and she endured first-round defeats at both the French and US Opens.

Osaka withdrew from Wimbledon with an Achilles’ injury, after originally considering skipping the tournament because ranking points would not be awarded.

She has previously opened up about her struggles with mental health issues including anxiety and depression.

Her withdrawal from the Pan Pacific Open was just the latest blow for the tournament, which saw several big names knocked out in the early rounds.

Top seed Paula Badosa of Spain and number two Caroline Garcia of France were eliminated in their opening matches, along with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Number six seed Karolina Pliskova was also upset 6-3, 6-4 as Croatia’s Petra Martic progressed to the second round on Thursday and the Czech became the latest seeded casualty.

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