Osaka, Azarenka pull out of Australian Open warm-up tournaments

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After Serena Williams’ withdrawal, two more former Australian Open champions Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka are saying that they are injured and unable to proceed with play at the WTA 500 tournaments leading up to the season’s first Grand Slam.

The world No.3 Osaka pulled out of the Gippsland Trophy ahead of her semifinal against Elise Mertens, citing an unspecified injury and assuring fans that she’ll be ready for the Australian Open:

Sorry to Tennis Australia and the fans to have to withdraw today. I have a niggling injury and in light of the Australian Open on the horizon, I need to be cautious. I look forward to competing next week.

The 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion Azarenka pulled out of her Grampians Trophy quarterfinal against Anett Kontaveit, because of a lower back problem.

These withdrawals of big-name players are a blow to the WTA, but looking at the bigger picture they are minor problems in the midst of all the coronavirus quarantine organization and re-scheduling drama. The latest news is that the final of the Grampians Trophy will not even be played, because of delays caused by Thursday’s suspension and the start of the Australian Open on Monday. The semifinals will go forward as scheduled on Sunday. Both finalists will receive finalist points and finalist prize money.


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