Naomi Osaka's shock withdrawal after heartbreaking admission

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Naomi Osaka, pictured here speaking to the media after winning the Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka speaks to the media after winning the Australian Open. (Michael Dodge/Tennis Australia via AP)

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from next month's clay-court event in Stuttgart, choosing to delay her preparations for the French Open.

Organisers announced the news on Wednesday, saying: "Naomi Osaka will now begin the European clay court season a little later in May."

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The tournament in south-west Germany runs from the 17th to 25th of April and is set to go ahead behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is one of the first clay-court events in Europe in the build-up to the French Open at Roland Garros, which is due to start on May 23rd.

Osaka won the first Grand Slam title of 2021 last month when she beat Jennifer Brady of the USA in the Australian Open final.

Despite Osaka's absence, seven of the world's top 10 female players are still expected in Stuttgart, headed by World No.1 Ash Barty.

As well as defending champion Petra Kvitova, top-10 stars Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina, Aryna Sabalenka and 2018 Stuttgart winner Karolina Pliskova are also expected to be feature.

Naomi Osaka's sad admission about career

Osaka's withdrawal came just hours after she hinted at tweaking her clay-court schedule while speaking at the Miami Open.

The World No.1 made the sad admission that she often gets homesick while travelling around the world, admitting that's the reason she doesn't play as many tournaments as her rivals.

"Well for me, I'm not really sure what a normal schedule is but I've never thought of myself as the player that would play week-in and week-out," Osaka told reporters in Miami.

"I personally get homesick quite often and it makes me kinda sad some times. 

"I would like to travel somewhere and focus on that tournament."

Naomi Osaka, pictured here with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy after winning the 2021 Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy after winning the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Osaka said she will look to be more selective with the tournaments she plays in 2021, and followed through with her withdrawal from Stuttgart.

“Hopefully it will work for me this time in Europe because my results there haven’t been that great," she said. 

"But I feel like every year I am on tour I learn more about myself and what type of schedule I like to play."

The Japanese star's triumph at the Australian Open was her second title at Melbourne Park, with two at the US Open giving her four career majors.

However she's only ever made it as far as the third round at the French Open and Wimbledon.

The World No.2 will be looking to gain some ground on Barty at the Miami Open this week.

The Australian will need to win the tournament to defend her points from claiming the title in 2019, otherwise Osaka will narrow the gap in the rankings.

with agencies

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