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The backstory: In case you didn't know, four-time Grand Slam champ Naomi Osaka has been on a little break from competitive tennis since last September when she withdrew from the Toray Pan Pacific because of illness. But she has pulled out of other matches before over the past few years. In 2021, she opened up about her struggles with mental health, which made headlines after she was stressed and emotional during a news conference at Roland Garros (aka the French Open). She said she isn't a natural public speaker, and press conferences after matches gave her anxiety.
More recently: Last week, fans were left sort of scratching their heads when Osaka withdrew from the upcoming Australian Open, which begins on January 16. The tournament organizers announced on social media that she wouldn't play, but they didn't say why.
The development: The tennis world was super surprised on Wednesday when the former world No. 1 player Osaka dropped a bombshell announcement – she's expecting a little one and taking a hiatus from tennis until 2024. Osaka plans to go back in action again at the Australian Open next year.
"Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023," the Australian Open tweeted. "Dayana Yastremska moves into the main draw."
"The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it's the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun," said Naomi Osaka on Twitter. "These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I've dedicated my life to. I realize that life is so short and I don't take any moments for granted, everyday is a new blessing and adventure. I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I'm looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, 'that's my mom', haha. 2023 will be a year that'll be full of lessons for me and I hope I'll see you guys in the start of the next one cause I'll be at Aus 2024."
"The WTA family congratulates Naomi on this very special news," said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. "As she now embarks on this exciting next chapter in her life, we celebrate her becoming a mom and look forward to seeing her back on the court when she and the family are ready."