Naomi Osaka withdraws from Australian Open

Two-time champion Naomi Osaka has formally withdrawn from the Australian Open, adding to the growing list of superstar casualties.

Osaka hasn't played since September and was long odds to make her comeback at Melbourne Park after posting pictures on social media only last week of her jaunt through Europe with her US rapper boyfriend, Cordae.

"Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023," Open officials tweeted on Sunday.

Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska has been promoted to the main draw in Osak a's absence.

Champion at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021, Osaka took in the Mona Lisa, concerts and only seemingly returned to her Los Angeles base last week and has shown no sign of any Open preparation .

The 25-year-old's Melbourne no show will only further heighten concerns the four-time grand slam champion may not return to the tennis court at all.

Osaka took a mental health break after sitting out the 2021 French Open and later revealed she'd been struggling with depression and anxiety for several years.

Down to 47th in the live WTA rankings, the Japanese super-talent hasn't played since withdrawing from the second round in Tokyo last September with abdominal pains and has won only one completed match since last May.

The former world No.1 crashed out in the first round of her previous three events, including the US Open, which she has also won twice.

Osaka's last victory was an abbreviated one to say the least, coming after just one game against Daria Saville when the Australian suffered a torn ACL in Tokyo.

Her scratching is another blow to Open organisers already reeling from the retirements last year of reigning women's champion Ash Barty and legends Serena Williams and Roger Federer.

Men's world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz pulled out on Saturday with a hamstring injury before Serena's seven-times grand slam-winning sister Venus handed back her wildcard after being hurt while practising in Auckland.

Former Melbourne Park finalist and ex-long-time No.1 Simona Halep isn't competing this year either.

Osaka's withdrawal would ordinarily have been a boost for Australian No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic, who needs two higher-ranked rivals to drop out before next Thursday's draw to gain an all-important Open seeding.

But Osaka's fall from grace has been so spectacular that the former world No.1 is behind Tomljanovic in the standings and battling to remain inside the top 50.

A first-time grand slam seeding would ensure Tomljanovic - a Wimbledon and US Open quarter-finalist - doesn't strike a higher-ranked opponent until at least the third round.

World No.22 Nick Kyrgios and the 24th-ranked Alex de Minaur are currently the only two Australians slated to be seeded for the season's first slam.