Naomi Osaka’s Pan Pacific Open came to an abrupt and unexpected end on Thursday, when the four-time Grand Slam champion withdrew ahead of her second-round contest against Beatriz Haddad Maia due to an abdominal illness.
“I am really sorry that I am not able to compete today”, Osaka said in a statement released by organisers, who made it clear that she is not injured but suddenly became sick.
“It’s an honour to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan… This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won’t let me… Thank you for all your support this week and I will see you next year”.
Fans were hardly able to get a look at Osaka, who was competing in Japan for the first time since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last summer.
The 24-year-old reached the second round after Daria Saville retired in the second game, tearing the ACL in her left knee. The match lasted just seven minutes.
Osaka – who has not won a tournament since the 2021 Australian Open – had genuinely been looking forward to playing this week following a trying season that forced her to battle injuries to her Achilles and lower back.
It remains to be seen when Osaka will play next. She is currently ranked 48th in the world and at the Pan Pacific Open was eyeing to tie Date Kimiko for the Japanese record of eight career wins on the WTA Tour.