Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, thus continuing her indefinite break from tennis. The BNP Paribas Open is one of the biggest events scheduled in the last quarter of the season, and all the top players in the world are expected to participate in it.
Naomi Osaka last played at the US Open, where she was defeated in the third round by eventual runner-up Leylah Fernandez. The 23-year-old broke down during her press conference following that loss, and revealed that she would be taking a break from the game.
Osaka didn't specify a return date, and now with her latest withdrawal it seems unlikely she will play again this year. The Japanese didn't give any reason for her Indian Wells pullout.
The BNP Paribas Open, a joint ATP & WTA event held every March in Indian Wells, has been postponed to early October this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the marquee events on the calendar during this year's post US Open swing, alongside the season-ending ATP Finals and WTA Finals.
Indian Wells was the place where Naomi Osaka made her big breakthrough in 2018. Aged just 20 back then, Osaka defeated Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova and top seed Simona Halep before beating Daria Kasatkina in the final to claim her first WTA singles title.
With Naomi Osaka pulling out of Indian Wells, her place in the world's top 10 could come under threat. It remains to be seen if she will compete in the season-ending WTA Finals, being held in Guadalajara this year, but her qualification is not guaranteed.
Osaka is the second big name on the women's side to pull out of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams has also announced she will not play the event this year.
Naomi Osaka to appear in LeBron James-produced "The Shop" this Friday
Even as Naomi Osaka remains off the circuit, the Japanese player has remained in the public eye. In recent weeks, Osaka has launched her own skincare company Kinlo and turned heads with her appearance at the Met Gala, and she will now be seen on Uninterrupted's show "The Shop".
The talk show, created by Paul Rivera, is produced by NBA superstar LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter. Osaka will appear on Friday's episode of the show alongside comedian Wanda Sykes, rapper Jadakiss and NBA player Kevin Love.
ALSO READArticle Continues below