Naomi Osaka's US Open hopes dashed as tennis star leaves court in tears

Naomi Osaka withdraws through injury

Naomi Osaka’s struggles on the court continued after she was reduced to tears during her first round match at the National Bank Open.

The former world number one was forced to withdraw from her meeting with Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi due to a back injury.

An emotional Osaka was unable to hide her frustration as she wiped away a few tears before leaving the court.

The 24-year-old was trailing 7-6, 3-0 before making the decision to forfeit the match.

“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying to push through it, I just wasn’t able to today,” the Japanese star said after retiring from the Canadian Open.

“I’d like to pay credit to Kaia for playing well and want to wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.”

Despite her disappointment, the four-time Grand Slam still made time to stop and give her racquet to a fan. But with the match now over, the burning question is, will Osaka be able to compete at this year’s US Open?

TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 09: Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off the court after she retired early from her match against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia during the National Bank Open, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 9, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Will Naomi Osaka play at the US Open?

Osaka is a two-time winner at Flushing Meadows — the US tournament is where she picked up her first Grand Slam title back in 2018.

At just 20 years of age, Osaka became the first ever Japanese player to win a major tennis singles title. After that, she won a Grand Slam every year up until 2021, where her form started to dip.

Osaka beat Serena Williams in the infamous 2018 US Open final, denying the tennis legend a record equalling 24th major title.

She won the tournament again in 2020 after defeating Victoria Azarenka but since claiming her fourth Grand Slam the following year, she has struggled with injuries and form.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 13: Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the US Open trophy the morning after winning the Women’s Singles Final on Day Fourteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Since her triumph at the 2021 Australian Open, Osaka has been subject to early exits from the Grand Slams.

She was knocked out in the third round at Flushing Meadows last year at the hands of eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez. This result came just months after Osaka withdrew from the French Open to take care of her mental health.

Following her exit from the 2021 US Open, Osaka announced she would be taking a break from tennis.

The 24-year-old was absent from the court for almost five months before returning in the new year at the Melbourne Summer Set.

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Who won the 2021 Australian Open?

Since then, the world number 39 has struggled with several injuries, the latest being an issue with her back.

Problems with her achilles and abdomen this year have hampered Osaka’s ability to compete at her usual level. Now, with another injury to add to the list, her US Open hopes could be dashed.

The US Open is just weeks away, and despite the hard court being Osaka’s most successful surface, it would not be unheard of for the star to forego the tournament in order to focus on getting fit again.

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