February 6, 2019 / 3:30 AM / 6 months ago

Osaka pulls out of Qatar Open with injury

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Women's Singles Final - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 26, 2019. Japan's Naomi Osaka attends a news conference after winning her match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

TOKYO (Reuters) - World number one Naomi Osaka has pulled out of next week’s Qatar Open with an unspecified back injury, tournament organisers said on Tuesday.

Osaka, who was set play for the first time since her Australian Open triumph, has suffered with back problems in the past.

“I am sorry to have withdraw from Doha this year as I was looking forward to playing and seeing my fans there,” the 21-year-old said in a statement.

“I wish everyone a great week and hope to see everyone next year.”

Simona Halep, the Romanian who Osaka replaced as world number one, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber head up the field in Doha from Feb. 11.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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