Is Naomi Osaka Playing In The 2022 Australian Open?

Tennis - Olympics: Day 3
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 26: Naomi Osaka of Team Japan plays a backhand during her Women's Singles Second Round match against Viktorija Golubic of Team Switzerland on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The defending champ withdrew from a warm-up event ahead of the 2022 Australian Open. We break down what it means.
World No. 14 and defending champion Naomi Osaka is in Australia preparing for the 2022 Australian Open, but her status is a bit unclear two days before the tournament draw takes place.

Osaka was playing in the Melbourne Summer Set 1 and had advanced to the semifinals having dropped only one set in three matches. However, Osaka withdrew from her semifinal match against Veronika Kudermetova, citing a shock to her body after her recent break from tennis.

While this would normally be concerning about her prospects of playing in the first Grand Slam of the 2022 calendar, tennis report José Morgado noted she has previously withdrawn from a warm-up event only to go on to win the subsequent Grand Slam tournament. She did so in 2020 leading up to the US Open and then a year ago leading up to the Australian Open.

Regardless, the withdrawal stings for Osaka because it changes her likely draw on Thursday and will result in her having to play one of the top four seeds in the round of 16. That group will include Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, Garbiñe Muguruza, and Barbora Krejčíková.

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