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World Number One Naomi Osaka Injured, Pulls Out Of Italian Open

Naomi Osaka Caribbean

Just a week before the start of the French Open, 21-year-old Japanese player Naomi Osaka had to withdraw her name from the Italian Open on Friday before her quarter-final match due to injury. Reigning US and Australian Open champion Osaka leaped to the No.1 spot and had earlier said she could not compete because of a problem with her hand.

“I woke up this morning and I couldn’t really move my thumb,” the 21-year-old told a press conference, WTA Tennis reported. “I can’t move my hand. I can’t move my thumb and I’m not sure I can play my match. I tried to practice and grip my racket and I just felt this pain every time I tried to move my hand in different directions,” she further added.

Naomi became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion – man or woman – after thrashing her idol, Serena Williams, in last year’s US Open final. She went toe-to-toe with the 23-time Grand Slam champion and defeated her.

Earlier too, Naomi had suffered from a back injury, missing last October’s Hong Kong Open due to the problem. “Right now I’m really, not mad, but in between sad and disappointed because I really wanted to play my match today. I wanted to see how well I could do today. So right now, I’m feeling kind of sad,” she added.

READ: How Naomi Osaka Rose To The Top From World No.72 In A Year’s Time

“But the injury part is very annoying. I feel like the ab thing could have been helped, but this one I don’t think I could have helped it because I don’t know what caused it. I don’t know why I have it. I feel there are preventable injuries and ones where you have to just take it how it is,” she claimed.

The Japanese star was to meet Madrid Open champion and sixth seed Kiki Bertens. Osaka said she could stay in Rome before going on to the French Open. However, she did not rule out competing in Roland Garros. She continued to top the women’s tennis rankings after Simona Halep lost in the Madrid Open.

“I’m going to stay here for one more day and see how it is,” she said. “I haven’t really talked to everyone so don’t really know the plan is yet. I’ve never had this problem before, it’s brand new. I’m going to take it like how I went to Australia,” added Osaka. She had retired with a leg injury against Bertens in the WTA Finals last October before going on to win in Melbourne.

“Grand Slams to me are like a playground, I have a lot of fun there.”

Naomi has been playing professional tennis since 2013. Her major breakthrough came when she became an international sensation after beating Angelique Kerber in the first round of the US Open in 2017. In addition to defeating Kerber, Naomi has won matches over other long-time tennis greats, including Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep. She is eyeing gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Feature Image Credit: Cosmopolitan

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