Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka both set to return at Indian Wells Masters
Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka have both announced their next event after the Australian Open will be next month’s Indian Wells Masters.
Three-time Slam champion Ash Barty and four-time Slam titlist Naomi Osaka were one match away from an enticing meeting at last month’s Australian Open after Osaka suffered an upset against American youngster Amanda Anisimova.
As a result of her early exit, Osaka dropped a total of 71 ranking positions as she fell from 14th to 85th in the WTA world rankings.
Barty went on to win a maiden home Slam without dropping a single set, ending a 44-year-long wait for an Australian women’s singles champion. Her Australian Open joins the 2019 French Open and the 2021 Wimbledon in her growing trophy cabinet.
World number one Barty had been set to compete at the St. Petersburg Open in Russia, but she opted to miss the event after her run at the first Slam of the season.
Both Barty and Osaka have announced that they will compete at the Indian Wells Masters next month.
The Australian icon missed last year’s event as she focussed on the Australian Open, but has said “Indian Wells is definitely at the top of the list when it comes to favourite stops on tour.
“The tournament team does a fantastic job looking after the players and putting on a great event for fans. My team and I were disappointed to miss the October event but we look forward to returning in March.”
Similarly, in a question and answer conducted through an Instagram Live stream, Osaka revealed she would return at the same tournament.
The Japanese star said “I’m doing a lot of things right now, I am the type of person that always has to have projects going on. I just never tell anyone what I’m doing until it comes out.”
The Masters event is a tournament Osaka holds dear as it is the first WTA title she won back in 2018 after beating players such as Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and Daria Kasatkina.
However, Osaka has endured a difficult few years as she exited in the fourth round of the 2020 Indian Wells before the 2020 edition was cancelled due to Covid-19.
She then missed the 2021 event, as well as the French Open and Wimbledon, when she took a hiatus from tennis after she revealed she had been suffering from periods of depression and anxiety.
The Indian Wells Masters, often termed the ‘fifth Grand Slam’, will take place from March 7th to March 14th.
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