Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open to save herself from confidence slump

• Japan’s top-ranked women’s player wants to ‘pick where I can be most comfortable’ • Osaka will attend third Australian Open of her career

Naomi Osaka announced on Wednesday that she would not take part in the French Open. The Japanese player is currently world No11, but she also said that she would not be competing at the Australian Open later this year, even though she is eligible for the qualifying rounds.

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“I’m really sorry to let down my fans,” Osaka said. “I always had this hope of winning a grand slam and playing at the French Open was one of the major things on my mind. But as the season has progressed and progressed and progressed, I just haven’t played my best tennis.”

Osaka, 19, said she would stay close to her home in Japan and would be focusing on her training during off-season.

“I want to be in a place where I can be my best and, the last two months, I’ve thought to myself: OK, this is just not really working for me. There’s things I did wrong and things I wish I could change but I’m going to be at home in Japan,” Osaka said.

“I’m just going to stay as close to home as possible. I have my schedule for the off-season and I just can’t make any changes.”

Osaka said she felt “comfort” playing in the same Parisian tournament last year. She believes her problems stemmed from a lack of confidence after she split with her coach, Sascha Bajin, earlier this year.

“Before Sascha left, he did everything to help me, but then he wanted me to be confident. I don’t really trust myself,” she said. “It’s something I will have to work on over the off-season. My main goal is just to play at the highest level.”

Osaka defeated her older sister, Ariana, in the final of the Junior French Open in 2012 and claimed her first WTA title at the US Open last year.

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