Naomi Osaka pulls out of Wimbledon, plans to compete at Tokyo Olympics
Geneva – Women’s world No. 2 Naomi Osaka will skip Wimbledon, which is set to begin later this month, and focus instead on the Tokyo Olympics, slated to open on July 23, her agent said Thursday.
The Japanese tennis star withdrew from the French Open in late May after boycotting a press conference and being threatened with disqualification. She revealed her battle with depression in public comments about withdrawing from the clay-court grand slam event.
“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year,” Osaka’s agent told Reuters via email. “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 participation at Wimbledon was in doubt this month when she pulled out of a WTA 500 grass court tournament in Berlin that was meant to serve as a tuneup for the Grand Slam.
The Japan Tennis Association said earlier in the day that Osaka and two men’s players, Kei Nishikori and Yoshihito Nishioka, officially qualified to represent Japan at the Summer Games.
The association said it was notified by the International Tennis Federation that the three Japanese were among the players allocated places in the Olympic tournament based on their June 14 ATP or WTA singles rankings.
Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open generated an outpouring of support from across the tennis world and beyond, with many of her peers taking to social media with encouraging messages for the player of Japanese and Haitian descent.
“I’m gonna take some time away from the court now,” Osaka tweeted at the time, without mentioning when she planned to return to competition.
The 23-year-old has claimed the U.S. and Australian open titles twice each. In May, Osaka was named winner of the 2021 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award after using her platform to speak out for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality in the United States.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to run through Aug. 8.
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