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Naomi Osaka withdraws from the 2021 BNP Paribas Open

Naomi Osaka
Rob Prange / CC BY 2.0
Naomi Osaka

One of the biggest names in tennis won't be at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

On Wednesday, officials announced that 2018 BNP Paribas Open champion Naomi Osaka pulled out of this year's tournament. The tournament was set to start in two weeks.

There has been no reason listed for Osaka's withdrawal from the tournament at this time, however, many expected the announcement after she indicated following her U.S. Open loss this month that she planned to take another extended break from tennis.

Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion who has been ranked No. 1 and is currently No. 8. She last played at the U.S. Open, where her title defense ended with a third-round loss to eventual runner-up Leylah Fernandez on Sept. 3.

After that defeat, Osaka said: “I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.”

Osaka, a 23-year-old who was born in Japan and now is based in the U.S., took time off earlier this season, a mental health break that began when she withdrew from the French Open before her second-round match. She also sat out Wimbledon, then returned for the Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the cauldron during the opening ceremony.

“I feel like for me, recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” Osaka said at her news conference following the 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to Fernandez at Flushing Meadows. “I don’t think that’s normal.”

This year's field for the BNP Paribas Open features Novak Djokovic and WTA world no. 1 Ash Barty.

Check Out This Year's Full List of Players

The 2021 BNP Paribas Open will be played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden from Oct 4. to Oct. 17.

Everyone attending the tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden will be required to provide proof of vaccination.

For tickets, visit bnpparibasopen.com/tickets/

Jesus Reyes

Associated Press

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