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Naomi Osaka Pulls Out of BNP Paribas Open

It’s unclear when the former world No. 1 will return to competition. Earlier this month, Osaka said she plans to take a break from the sport.

Naomi Osaka hasn't played since a third-round loss at the U.S. Open on September 3 in New York.

There was some speculation that Naomi Osaka would compete in the upcoming BNP Paribas Open, but the four-time Grand Slam singles winner has decided she’s not ready to compete yet.

Osaka withdrew from the event on Wednesday, September 22, tournament organizers announced on the same day.

The former world No. 1, who lit the Olympic cauldron at the Tokyo Games Opening Ceremony on July 23 at the New National Stadium, hasn’t played since a third-round defeat to 73rd-ranked Leylah Fernandez at the U.S. Open on September 3 in New York.

A tearful Osaka said after the match that she intends to take an indefinite break.

“When I win I don’t feel happy,” Osaka remarked. “I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal.”

She added: “I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. … I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

The BNP Paribas Open gets underway on October 4. She won her first career title at the event in 2018 in Indian Wells, California.

Osaka withdrew from the French Open after a first-round win in late May and pulled out of Wimbledon this summer citing a need for a mental health break. Osaka, who has slipped to No. 8 in the world rankings, has said in interviews and on social media that she’s battled depression.

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In May, Osaka was named the 2021 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year.

Author:  Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays,  in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

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