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Naomi Osaka withdraws in Italy, injury hinders French Open preparation

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Naomi Osaka withdraws in Italy, injury hinders French Open preparation
Naomi Osaka from Japan withdrew from the Italian Open on Monday and will try to recover from an Achilles injury before the 2022 French Open. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

May 9 (UPI) -- Japan's Naomi Osaka will skip the 2022 Italian Open because of a lingering left ankle injury, she announced Monday.

"Unfortunately, I'm going to have to withdraw from Rome, as the injury I picked up last week in Madrid hasn't healed yet," Osaka said in a statement.

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Osaka skipped the Charleston Open, another popular clay-court season tournament, in early April. She also missed other warm-up tournaments for the soil surface in Germany and Turkey.

Just two additional clay-court tournaments remain before the 2022 French Open. The Internationaux de Strasbourg and the Morocco Open run from Sunday to May 21 in Strasbourg, France, and Rabat, Morocco, respectively.

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"It's an Achilles injury, so I need to be careful especially in advance of Roland Garros," Osaka said, referring to staying healthy for the French Open.

"I love this city and always enjoy playing in front of the Italian fans, so I will be sorry to miss them -- but look forward to coming back next year," she said in Rome.

Osaka lost to No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland in the Miami Open women's singles final in March in Miami Gardens, Fla. She then injured her Achilles in her first-round victory April 29 at the Madrid Open. She followed that with a straight-sets loss to Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.

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She was set to face Sorribes Tormo again Tuesday in Rome, before her exit. Spain's Nuria Parrizas Dias replaced Osaka in the draw for the Italian Open.

"Sometimes life doesn't go as planned and you just gotta find joy in the unknown," Osaka tweeted Sunday.

The French Open will be held May 22 through June 5 in Paris. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, failed to advance past the third round in her previous five appearances at Roland Garros.

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She is the No. 38 player in the WTA world rankings.

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