Naomi Osaka pulls out of Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo due to illness on Thursday
CALGARY/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Japan’s Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Thursday after being diagnosed with a “life-threatening illness” the day before, leaving the world’s top-ranked women tennis player with a hole in her schedule.
The world number three had been scheduled to play at the tournament in the city-state of Yokohama alongside Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na and Elina Svitolina, but has now had to pull out of both events because of what her team described as symptoms consistent with Covid-19.
“There is no need for me to continue playing at a tournament with Covid-19 and Covid-19 testing,” Osaka, 27, said on Twitter.
Tennis players in Japan, which is currently under stay-at-home orders, have been banned from all contact with the public.
The Pan Pacific Open on the Japanese island of Okinawa is scheduled to take place on May 17 and Osaka has not played a tournament since defeating American Madison Keys at the BNP Paribas Open last September.
Osaka, who was ranked world number three before a knee injury in February forced her to drop out of the U.S. Open, was playing in the semi-finals of the tournament in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Osaka said her health was deteriorating and she did not want to take risks that might put her in danger.
“I wanted to spend this time with Naomi and our family. Unfortunately I am not able to continue playing with my health condition,” Osaka said on Twitter.
“I am sending my best and warmest wishes to all the fans and friends of my team and the Japanese team,” she added.
“To all I want to express my appreciation and thanks, please keep safe.”
Osaka and Wozniacki were the bookends of a trio of defending champions in the first edition of the tournament.
The only two major events played by the three women were the Western & Southern Open in