Naomi Osaka withdraws from Australian Open

TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 20: Naomi Osaka of Japan in action against Daria Saville of Australia during her first round match on Day 2 of the Toray Pan Pacific Open at Ariake Coliseum on September 20, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka's career has been sporadic at best over the last several months. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the 2023 Australian Open a week before it is scheduled to begin, the tournament announced on Saturday. Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska will move to the main draw in her place.

No reason was given for the withdrawal.

This is the third high-profile withdrawal from Melbourne Park in the span of two days, as Carlos Alcaraz announced he would miss the tournament with a leg injury and Venus Williams pulled out with an unspecified injury.

The tournament is scheduled to begin on Jan. 15, with qualifiers starting Sunday.

Naomi Osaka's career takes another hit

Osaka, who won the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021, hasn't played a WTA event since withdrawing from the 2022 Toray Pan Pacific Open in September due to abdominal pain. She has won two full-length matches total since losing to Iga Swiatek in the finals of the 2022 Miami Open in April, a span of time that includes the French Open, Wimbledon (from which she also withdrew) and the US Open.

Osaka's WTA ranking currently sits at No. 42 in women's singles, down from No. 13 this time last year and No. 3 in January 2021. Once the top player in tennis, her career has taken a hard turn amid concerns with her consistency, injury and mental health.

Despite those struggles, Osaka remains among the top-earning athletes in not just tennis, but the entire sports industry thanks to a business portfolio that includes a stake in the NWSL's North Carolina Courage, a skincare line, a media company partnered with LeBron James and her own sports agency, which just signed world No. 2 Ons Jabeur. She's also a defendant in a class-action lawsuit over her stake in the collapsed FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Forbes named her the world's highest-paid female athlete last year with an estimated $59.2 million in 2022 income.