Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon
Naomi Osaka has pulled out of Wimbledon this year, citing a ‘leg injury’.
The former world No 1 has previously admitted that she was unlikely to compete at the Grand Slam after it was stripped of its ranking points.
Following the invasion of Ukraine, the WTA and ATP made the bombshell decision, with Russian and Belarusian players prevented from participating.
Osaka, 24, has also been struggling to fully recover from an Achilles issue she sustained during the Italian Open, and admitted the problem ‘is being stubborn still’.
An update to the women’s withdraw list has now confirmed her absence, with Eugenie Bouchard also pulling out in another blow to the All England Club.
‘The decision (on ranking points) is affecting my mentality going into grass,’ she said last month. ‘I’m not 100 per cent sure if I’m going to go.
‘I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, it’s like – I don’t want to say pointless, no pun intended – but I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.
‘I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels that way. When I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.
‘I didn’t make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the circumstances, but that might change.’
Osaka has not played at Wimbledon since 2019, and has failed to win a match at the showpiece since her third round appearance in 2018.
The competition was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, while the superstar did not take part last year citing mental health reasons.
Her absence makes the famous tournament the third consecutive grass-court Grand Slam she has missed.
In a statement confirming she would not play, she said: ‘After the storm comes the calm. This is a saying that I’m actively trying to master.
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‘I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you’re never gonna be used to them, but it’s how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character. I’ve been repeating mantras a lot in my head recently.
‘I don’t know if it’s to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realising that everything will work out fine as long as I put in the work. Cause [sic] what more can you do?
‘Everyday before I go to sleep I think of all the people I love and how grateful I am to have them in my life, I honestly just wish the best for them and I hope that my existence brings them as much joy as they do to me.’
Bouchard, meanwhile, said the lack of ranking points does not line up with her plans to manage her injury return. She confirmed her decision to not compete yesterday.