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Naomi Osaka pulls out of Wimbledon, but aims for Tokyo Olympics

Women's tennis world No. 2 Naomi Osaka's withdrawal is a second blow to Wimbledon after 20-times Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal also announced he was skipping the grasscourt major

June 18, 2021 / 07:22 AM IST
Naomi Osaka (File image: William West/AFP)

Naomi Osaka (File image: William West/AFP)

Women's tennis world No. 2 Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Wimbledon championship for personal reasons but will be ready for the Tokyo Olympics, her agent said on June 17.

Osaka quit the French Open following her first round victory after organisers fined her $15,000 and threatened her with expulsion from the tournament when she refused to attend mandatory post-match press conferences.

The 23-year-old, who said she has "social anxiety", explained that media's line of questioning after games impacted her mental well-being.

"Naomi won't be playing Wimbledon this year. 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's agent told Reuters via email.

The four-time Grand Slam winner had announced in the build-up to the French Open that she would not face the media and stuck to her stance.

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A strongly-worded letter from the board of the four Grand Slam tournaments followed, warning her of possible expulsion from Roland Garros and future majors - after which she announced her withdrawal on social media.

The reaction to her withdrawal put French Open organisers on the back foot. Although they defended their handling of the situation, they accepted that the governing bodies need to do better on mental health issues.

Osaka's withdrawal is a second blow to Wimbledon after 20-times Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal also announced he was skipping the grasscourt major following a gruelling claycourt season.

Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka grew up idolising 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and turned professional in 2013 aged 15.
Reuters
first published: Jun 18, 2021 07:21 am

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