Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal due to back injury in a statement released yesterday.
Osaka is set to withdraw from next week’s Qatar Open scheduled to take place in Doha due to a recurring back injury. She had been scheduled to compete in Doha as the top seed in the competition but will now have to wait her time before returning back to the tour.
In a statement released to the media, Osaka said:
“I am sorry to have withdrawn from Doha this year as I was looking forward to playing and seeing my fans there. I wish everyone a great week and hope to see everyone next year.”
The 21-year-old current world number one caused a major upset when she beat Serena Williams last year at Flushing Meadows to record her first ever Grand Slam win although in controversial circumstances.
She carried on her winning streak this year at the Australian Open by beating Czech star Petra Kvitova to win the title thereby establishing her position as a household name in the sport and climbing up to the top spot in the WTA rankings.
Her withdrawal will come as a huge disappointment to tour organizers who must have been hoping to see the new Australian Open Champion grace the event.
What that means is that the current world number three, Simona Halep will take up the top spot now while the likes of Angelique Kerber, Kiki Bertens and Karolina Pliskova will all be there in the competition to try and make it to the final stages.
Kvitova will kick-start the competition as the defending champion, after having beaten Muguruza in the final of the previous year’s tournament. Halep was the losing semi-finalist along with Caroline Wozniacki, who will also feature in this year’s tournament.
Some of the others expected to take part are Elina Svitolina, Ash Barty and Anastasija Sevastova.