2020 French Open: Injured Osaka Pulls Out Of Claycourt Major

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury, she said on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Japanese first picked up the injury last month at the Western and Southern Open causing her to pull out of the final against Victoria Azarenka.

She recovered in time for the US Open but had her left hamstring taped throughout the tournament which she won, battling back from losing the first to beat Azarenka in the final in New York last Saturday to win her third Grand Slam title.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to play the French Open this year,” the world number three wrote on social media in a message she also posted in Japanese.

“My hamstring is still sore so I won’t have time to prepare for the clay – these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this time.

“I wish the organizers and players all the best.”

The French Open will be held from 27 September to 11 October after being moved from its usual late May-June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The withdrawal of Osaka, who has never advanced past the third round at Roland Garros, comes as another blow to the tournament after world number one Ash Barty of Australia said she would not be defending her title due to COVID-19 concerns.

On the men’s side, Roger Federer will not compete as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

Osaka’s absence would improve Serena Williams’s chances of winning a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title if the American chooses to play. The 38-year-old has pulled out of the Italian Open with an Achilles issue.

Organisers announced on Thursday that plans to have up to 11,500 people each day at the tournament have been shelved. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) said only 5,000 spectators would now be permitted at the claycourt major due to a surge in coronavirus cases in France.