Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from next week’s Australian Open.
The 25-year-old did not give a reason for her surprise withdrawal but has not featured on the WTA singles circuit since September.
The Japanese star won the Grand Slam in Melbourne in 2019 and 2021 but has since slipped in the world rankings – she’s now world No42.
Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska has been given the vacant space ahead of next Sunday’s first round.
Osaka’s last appearance on the WTA Tour was at the Pan Pacific Open in September, where she retired in the second round, having been beaten in the first round of the three previous tournaments, including the US Open, which she competed in.
Osaka won all of her four Grand Slams between 2018 and 2021 before withdrawing from the French Open in 2021 over mental health reasons.
She peaked at a career-high ranking of No3 in 2019 and 2020 but has slipped since.
Osaka has seven titles to her name – including the four Grand Slams – and has appeared in 11 finals, netting over $20m in prize money.
Last year at Indian Wells, Osaka had to receive therapy after she was heckled at the tournament in California – the tennis star has been a huge advocate for openness surrounding mental health.
In May last year she said she’s content with her mental health journey, despite the ups and downs along the way.
Venus Williams has also withdrawn from the year’s first Grand Slam while British sensation Emma Raducanu is a doubt in Melbourne.