One of the best tennis players in the world will have to qualify for some WTA Tour events following an early exit from the 2022 Australian Open. Naomi Osaka was defending the 2000 points earned from her superb victory in Melbourne last year. Her defeat to Amanda Anisimova in the third round this year has had a huge effect on her ranking.
Outside the WTA Top 50
The 130 points earned in the last week means that her total of ranking points decreases by a massive 1870 points. This, in combination with her lack of tennis in 2021, means that Osaka drops to a live ranking of #84.
Players with a ranking this low no longer receive automatic main draw entries in WTA1000 events, unless there are a large number of withdrawals. The next of these events takes place in Doha in February, but then, soon afterwards, sees the return of Indian Wells and Miami to their traditional March slots.
It would be expected that Osaka would want to play in those events. However, it is unpredictable to guess the Japanese player’s schedule at the moment given her difficulties in the last year or so.
Qualification And Impact On Draws
Whilst it goes without saying that Osaka would not struggle to get through qualification for events, it is still an annoyance for her. The extra time spent at tournaments, the extra press, the extra matches in her legs will not be ideal. She may well end up receiving wild cards for the tournaments instead, though obviously there has been no confirmation to this end at this stage.
Naomi Osaka has not been outside the WTA Top 50 since early 2018. She has not been ranked this low (#84) since exactly August 14th, 2016. To get back to the top of the rankings quickly will not be easy and it will be interesting to see how she tackles this mentally and physically. There has been very little in this week to suggest that she is not near the top of her game, though, so hopefully there will be a powerful resurgence from the 24-year-old.
Main Photo from Getty.