Naomi Osaka’s appearance in Melbourne signals her intention to return to professional tennis after casting doubt over her future in September after exiting the US Open
Last Updated: 28/12/21 2:28pm
Naomi Osaka touched down at Melbourne airport on Tuesday signalling her intent to return to professional tennis after casting doubt over her future in September.
The defending Australian Open women’s singles champion lost in the third round at the US Open to the eventual runner-up, 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.
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After the 24-year-old tearfully announced she was taking an indefinite break from the sport to focus on her mental health, the Japanese star has flown to Australia and is ready to defend her crown.
Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open and missed Wimbledon altogether, has not appeared on the tour since September.
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Osaka won the Australian Open in 2019 and again last year, when she defeated American Jennifer Brady to claim the fourth Grand Slam title of her career.
All players arriving ahead of the Australian Open are subject to COVID-19 tests and must isolate until they return a negative result.