Naomi Osaka makes one expected decision following deep Doha run

Osaka initially planned on playing one upcoming tournament but that won't happen.

by Dzevad Mesic
Naomi Osaka makes one expected decision following deep Doha run
© Getty Images Sport - Graham Denholm

Naomi Osaka won't be making her Dubai return this year after all as the Japanese and defending Dubai champion Barbora Krejcikova have both withdrawn from the upcoming WTA 1000 tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

This week, the Dubai organizers announced that 26-year-old Osaka would play in their tournament for the first time since 2019. But Osaka - who made her post-pregnancy comeback at the start of this season - decided to withdraw from Dubai after winning her Doha round-of-16 match on Wednesday. 

Osaka, who competed in Abu Dhabi last week before winning her opening three matches in Doha, presumably thinks competing for a third week straight after a deep Doha run would be too much. Before launching her comeback, Osaka was out for 16 months and the Japanese is now likely thinking long-term and not wanting to overdo early in her return.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

On the other side, Krejcikova - who skipped this week's WTA 1000 event in Doha due to a back injury - will also be missing Dubai, where she won the title last year after upsetting Iga Swiatek in the final.

“We regret to inform you that Barbora Krejcikova and Naomi Osaka have pulled out of this year’s tournament. We wish both players the best of luck for the rest of the 2024 season and look forward to seeing both players return to Dubai in the near future," the Dubai tournament said in a statement.

Osaka, Krejcikova statement on missing Dubai

Between 2017 and 2019, Osaka made three consecutive Dubai appearances and reached the quarterfinal in 2018. 

“I’m really sorry that I have to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this season. I have loved playing in Dubai in previous years, and I want to wish the tournament organizers a successful event in 2024," Osaka said in a statement.

Meanwhile, 2023 Dubai champion Krejcikova admitted that she is heartbroken over being forced to miss this year's tournament edition.

Barbora Krejcikova
Barbora Krejcikova© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

“It's with a heavy heart that I announce my withdrawal from the Dubai tournament. This decision wasn't easy, especially given my fond memories and anticipation to compete again. However, my back injury requires further healing time. But I am committed to returning stronger next year," Krejcikova said in a statement.

Naomi Osaka