Quick healer Osaka allays fitness fears ahead of Australian Open

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Tennis - WTA 250 - Melbourne Summer Set - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 4, 2022 Japan's Naomi Osaka successful enactment during her circular of 32 lucifer against France's Alize Cornet REUTERS/Loren Elliott

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MELBOURNE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Australian Open defending champion Naomi Osaka connected Saturday allayed fears astir an abdominal wounded that forced the Japanese erstwhile satellite fig 1 to retreat from a tune-up lawsuit past week.

Playing her archetypal tourney successful 4 months successful Melbourne, the 24-year-old won 3 matches successful the WTA 250 lawsuit but past withdrew up of her semi-final, raising doubts astir her preparations for her rubric defence astatine Melbourne Park.

"I heal rather fast," Osaka told reporters with a smile. "I'm arsenic bully arsenic I tin beryllium successful this existent moment.

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"But I besides deliberation athletes, we person niggles each the time. It's benignant of intolerable to play a Slam without feeling something. I'm conscionable alert of that and I'm alert that you can't beryllium cleanable each the time."

Osaka struggled for signifier past twelvemonth aft withdrawing from the French Open successful May pursuing a enactment with tourney organisers implicit required media appearances, which she said had a antagonistic interaction connected her intelligence health.

After losing successful the 3rd circular of the U.S. Open successful September, Osaka took a interruption from the sport.

"I was a spot tense astir however I would play aft being connected the break," Osaka said, adding that she was taking a spot of a antithetic attack from her erstwhile attempts to support a large title.

Osaka ne'er went beyond the 4th circular successful immoderate of her 3 anterior Grand Slam rubric defences.

"I learned with each lucifer that I played. For me, that was the astir important part. Hopefully I'm capable to use the things I learned from the archetypal tourney into the Australian Open."

All 4 of Osaka's large titles person travel connected hardcourts and she volition footwear disconnected her Melbourne Park run against 53rd-ranked Columbian Camila Osorio.

Deeper into the draw, she could look satellite fig 1 and location favourite Ash Barty successful the 4th circular but Osaka was determined not to happening that acold ahead.

"Please don't archer me," said Osaka, putting her manus up to interrupt a reporter's question earlier bursting into laughter. "I'm the benignant of idiosyncratic that doesn't look astatine the draw. I lone look astatine the idiosyncratic I'm going to play.

"I was virtually retired determination yesterday and idiosyncratic told maine astir Barty. I'm conscionable trying to get past the archetypal round."

Osaka described Barty arsenic the "ideal fig one".

"She's truthful consistent. She's ever truthful positive. Her and her coach, they're ever truly bully to everyone that I tin see. So, yeah, I truly similar her a lot."

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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