Pan Pacific Open: When Naomi Osaka, the struggling former world number one, withdrew from her hometown Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Thursday due to abdominal pain, her problems only got worse. Later that day, Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil was scheduled to face the 24-year-old Japanese player, but she withdrew because 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 the 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, a four-time Grand Slam champion, was hoping to turn things around in Tokyo, where she is the reigning champion from the tournament’s most recent edition in 2019.
“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.”
Osaka lost in the first round of both the French and US Opens and has spent the entire year outside the top 10.
She had considered boycotting the competition because ranking points would not be awarded, but she withdrew due to an Achilles ailment.
Naomi Osaka has previously spoken about having mental health issues.
Her withdrawal from the Pan Pacific Open was only the most recent setback for the competition, which had already seen numerous well-known athletes eliminated in the first few rounds.