World No 2 Naomi Osaka will not be participating at the upcoming edition of Wimbledon, but is scheduled to compete at Tokyo 2020, according to a statement released by her agent, agencies reported on Thursday.
“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year,” Osaka’s agent said in an email to AFP. “She is taking some personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans.”
Osaka is the second big name withdrawal from Wimbledon on Thursday after Rafael Nadal had said he was withdrawing from the Major as well as the Tokyo Olympics in a bid “to prolong my career”. The 35-year-old Spaniard, who won Olympic gold and Wimbledon in 2008, triumphing again at the All England Club two years later, revealed his decision on Twitter.
The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam winner had said following her withdrawal from the French Open that she was taking some time out of the game. She had pulled out of Roland Garros after her first round win, following the fallout of her media boycott.
“The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 (when she beat Serena Williams for her first Slam title) and I have had a really hard time coping with that,” Osaka had said in her statement back then.
She had added: “In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.
“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite out-dated in parts and I wanted to highlight that. I am going to take some time away from the court now.”
All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton on Wednesday had said as things stood Osaka would be at the championships, which get under way on June 28. Tournament director Jamie Baker said he had told Osaka’s entourage that the phone lines were always open to discuss any issues that might arise.
“I had the conversation with her team,” Baker had said.
“It’s absolutely clear that we’re here, we’re completely open for any discussions when they want to have that. Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what.”
World number two Osaka has been in the spotlight since withdrawing from the French Open.
She was fined $15,000 and threatened with disqualification from Roland Garros after she refused to honour mandatory media commitments.
French Open organisers said later that they had treated her with “care and respect” after they were accused of being heavy-handed.
Osaka lost in the third round of Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018 and bowed out in the first round in 2019. Last year’s tournament was cancelled due to coronavirus.
(With AFP inputs)
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.