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Australian Open No-Show Fuels Fears For Osaka’s Tennis Future

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Osaka’s social media accounts have stayed silent since Tennis Australia tweeted on Sunday that the two-time Melbourne champion would miss the first Grand Slam of the year, giving no reason for her absence.

Naomi Osaka has not played a tennis match since September and her pullout from coming week’s Australian Open has raised enterprises that the former world number one may noway appear on court again.

Osaka’s social media accounts have stayed silent since Tennis Australia twittered on Sunday that the two- time Melbourne champion would miss the first Grand Slam of the time, giving no reason for her absence.

Osaka’s posts over the once many months have shown her travelling in Europe with her swain, the rapper Cordae, and publicizing that her sports operation agency had inked up world number two Ons Jabeur.

But there has been little substantiation of the Japanese player spending time exercising on court, fuelling enterprise that the four- time Grand Slam champion’s tennis career could be over at the age of 25.

Tennis pen Ben Rothenberg, who has penned a memoir of Osaka due out latterly this time, believes she has formerly taken a “ meaningful step back ” from the sport and is designedly keeping quiet.

“I suppose she might want to be opaque about it because she doesn’t want to put a marker on it inescapably. ”

“I don’t suppose she’d use the word ‘ retiring ’, but if she was stepping down from the sport for a while– and it could be for any length of time– I don’t know that she’d want to speak that out loud.

“I suppose she’d smell that that would raise a lot of bells and hisses. ”

Osaka has preliminarily talked about floundering with her internal health and revealed that she suffered depression.

She spent all of 2022 outside the top 10, enduring first-round defeats at both the French and US Opens and withdrawing from Wimbledon with an Achilles ’ injury.

She also resolve from long- time trainer Wim Fissette last summer, replacing him with her father Leonard Francois.

Her last appearance was at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September, where the home fave withdrew before her alternate-round match, complaining of abdominal pain.

She told journalists at that event that she had gone through “ further down than over ” in 2022 and that she had “ learned a lot.”

She’s now ranked 47 in the world, having hit the peak for the first time in 2019.

Rothenberg believes Osaka is “ recalculating effects ” and may decide that she isn’t prepared to make the offerings demanded to continue as a professional tennis player.

“For her, the calculation isn’t adding up right now, for her to want to make the commitment, ” he said.

“She knows how important work it’s and how each- encompassing and preoccupying it’s to be an active full- time player with the norms that she has.

“She’s won so important formerly, she’s not going to be content just to be a top- 20 player again. ”

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, also the world’s undisputed number one, stunned the tennis world in March last time when she blazoned her withdrawal aged 25.

She explained that she was “ spent physically ” and no longer had the drive demanded to continue.

Osaka has several interests outside of playing tennis, including her sports operation agency Evolve, which counts Jabeur and Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios among its guests.

She has also invested in Pickleball, a tennis- suchlike sport that’s growing presto in the United States, and boasts multitudinous signatures.

Her website describes herself as not only a tennis player but also “ fashion nerd ”, “ entrepreneur ” and “ social change advocate ”.

Osaka was named the world’s top- earning woman athlete for 2022 by Forbes, with reported earnings of$51.1 million, indeed as her tennis career continued to dive.

Rothenberg says there will be significant pressure from guarantors prompting Osaka to “ stay on the hamster wheel ” of professional tennis.

But he says the fact that she has chosen not to proves that she’s “ making this decision for herself ”.

“Whatever her reasons may be, players nearly always err on the side of choosing to play.”

“So for her to hit pause, I suppose shows a good deal of control of the situation. ”

And Rothenberg believes there’s still plenitude of time for Osaka to come back, should she wish to.

“She has further runway in front of her if she wants to take back out again and get back on stint, ” he said.

“But it won’t get any easier with further time off. The further time she spends down, it’ll not get easier. ” Know More Tennis News…

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