Naomi Osaka to defend US Open title after being confirmed on entry list

World No 2 has taken a mid-season break following her withdrawal from the French Open

Naomi Osaka will defend her US Open title after the world No 2 was confirmed on the entry list for the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the season, organisers said on Wednesday.

Osaka undertook a mid-season hiatus after withdrawing from the French Open following her first round match and subsequently missed Wimbledon. The Japanese 23-year-old cited mental health reasons for the break, which came after she shunned mandatory media obligations at Roland Garros - a decision that cost her a fine.

The four-time major champion is set to make her return to competition at the Tokyo Olympics, where she is one of the host nation's leading hopes for a medal. She is then also scheduled to play in Montreal next month.

Osaka will be part of a women's field at the US Open that will include world No 1 Ash Barty, who lifted her second major title at Wimbledon earlier this month.

A total of 15 major winners, including Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, are scheduled to feature in the women's field at Flushing Meadows.

In the men's section, former champions Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – currently tied for the men's record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles – will resume their quest for more silverware in New York.

World No 1 Djokovic, fresh from his third major triumph of 2020 at Wimbledon, is aiming to become the first man since Australia's Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a calendar year sweep. The 34-year-old Serb is currently in Tokyo for the Olympics where a gold medal would would keep him on track for the golden Grand Slam.

Another former champion, Andy Murray, who is currently ranked 104, failed to make the main draw but remains the first player on the alternate list and would likely be awarded a wildcard by organisers if he fails to gain automatic entry.

Defending men's champion Dominic Thiem is also on the entry list as he continues to recover from a wrist injury that forced him to miss Wimbledon and the Olympics.

The US Open will be held with 100 per cent fan capacity from August 30 to September 12.

Updated: July 21st 2021, 5:49 PM