Defending champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Toray Pan Pacific Open ahead of her second-round match due to illness. This was the latest setback of a difficult season for her.
“I am really sorry that I am not able to compete today,” Osaka said in a statement. “It’s an honor to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan. 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.”
This was supposed to be a comeback season for Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open last year after dealing with “huge waves of anxiety” and then skipped the entire grass court season season. However, the four-time Grand Slam champion has dealt with her fair share of injuries this year and therefore missed a significant amount of matches this season too. She suffered a left Achilles injury during the Madrid Open, and last month had to leave the Toronto’s National Bank Open with a back injury.
During media availability ahead of the Torah Pan Pacific Open, Osaka had said she was grateful to finally be healthy, and that she was trying to make the best of the situation because this year has had a lot of ups and downs for her.
“I think of course the year has been not the best year for me but I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself,” she said earlier this week.
Osaka won the Toray Pan Pacific Open in 2019 after defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3. The tournament was cancelled the following two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the Japanese star got past the first round after Daria Saville retired due to knee injury. Beatriz Haddad Maia, Osaka’s opponent in the second round, is advancing to the quarterfinals by walkover. She is set to take on No.4 seed Veronika Kudermetova.