The three-time Major champion Naomi Osaka will not compete at this year's Roland Garros. World no. 3 claimed her third Major trophy at the US Open, passing all the obstacles and a left hamstring injury to secure the title, not feeling optimistic about chasing another in Paris after no time to practice on clay.
Osaka is yet to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros, losing in the third round thrice and waiting until 2021 to seek the first notable result on the slowest surface. The 22-year-old has played four WTA tournaments in 2020, losing in Brisbane's semi-final and the third round of the Australian Open to Cori Gauff.
Following a terrible Fed Cup loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo in February, Naomi had enough time to work on her game, with the coronavirus putting the entire season under the ice until August. Returning to the court in New York, Osaka reached the final of the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati, battling past Karolina Muchova and Anett Kontaveit to reach the final, giving Victoria Azarenka a walkover due to an injury.
Competing on the same courts a week later, Osaka took down Misaki Doi and Marta Kostyuk to reach the US Open fourth round, playing on a high level against Anett Kontaveit and Shelby Rogers and advancing into the last four.
There, the Japanese battled past Jennifer Brady in three sets for the second US Open final in three years, with Victoria Azarenka waiting on the other side of the court, like in Cincinnati. Osaka grabbed a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 triumph in an hour and 53 minutes, overcoming a slow start to lift the second crown in New York.
Naomi Osaka will skip Roland Garros due to a left hamstring injury.
Both players had more winners than unforced errors, with five breaks on each side for a rock-solid contest, especially in sets two and three. Azarenka was off to a flying start, delivering three breaks and superb serving performance in the opener to clinch it in under half an hour.
At the beginning of the second set, she broke Osaka before the Japanese raised her level, taking six of the next seven games to turn the tables around and control the scoreboard with three breaks on her tally. Naomi forged a 4-1 lead in the decider before Victoria pulled the break back in game seven to remain in touch.
Holding her nerves, Osaka scored a break that sent her 5-3 up, sealing the deal with a hold in game nine to celebrate the title. "Unfortunately, I won't be able to play the French Open this year. My hamstring is still sore, so I won't have enough time to prepare for the clay - these two Majors tournaments came too close to each other for me this time. I wish the organizers and players all the best," Naomi Osaka said.