Ash Barty retires from Indian Wells, Naomi Osaka hints at return, US Open

Women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia has withdrawn from the WTA India Wells singles draw, tournament organizers announced on Monday.

Officials gave no reason for Barty’s decision to withdraw from next month’s women’s draw, which was already suffering from the absence of several top players, including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

Barty, winner of two Grand Slams (Roland Garros in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021), had a disappointing performance at the US Open earlier this month, losing in the third round to American Shelby Rogers.

It was to be Barty’s first move since his early exit from the US Open.

Barty has competed in two previous Indian Wells events, his best result being a round of 16 appearance in 2019.

The Indian Wells tournament runs October 4-17. He is making his return to the tennis calendar for the first time in more than a year and a half due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Meanwhile, Osaka has hinted that the four-time Slam champion is set to return.

The Japanese star, who won her second Australian Open earlier this year, said she was taking another break after her third round loss to Leylah Fernandez.

But speaking on HBO’s “The Uninterrupted” show, the Olympic flame lighter said the “itch” is back.

“I sure love the sport,” Osaka said.

“I know I’m going to play again, probably soon because I have this itch again.” But it wouldn’t really matter to me if I won or lost.

“I would just have the joy of being back on the pitch. Just for, like, you know, I do it for myself.

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