Source: Tennis World
Naomi Osaka has been a subject of controversy since she withdrew from French Open, where she refused to take part in press conferences. This refusal created a big debacle between her and tournament officials and has made the news rounds since then.
On Thursday, Stuart Duguid, her agent, confirmed that she has withdrawn from Wimbledon. This came weeks after the world number two said she was struggling with anxiety and depression and thus pulled out of the French Open.
On the eve of the French Open, she announced that she would not participate in tournament media appearances and press conferences, which sent the tennis world into a frenzy. She later said her decision was borne out of her challenges with her mental health as she pulled out of the tournament.
“Since the 2018 US Open, I have dealt with depression, and it’s been tough coping with it,” she said.
In an email sent to AFP, Stuart can be quoted saying, “Naomi will not be playing this year at Wimbledon. She’s taking some personal time off and will be with her friends and family. She will be at the Olympics and is happy to play before her home fans.”
On Wednesday, Wimbledon organizers announced that the 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam champion would participate in the championship slated to start on June 28. In the words of All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton, “At the moment, she’s fully in the championships and hasn’t confirmed that she won’t compete.”
Since she withdrew from the French Open, the Japanese star has been in the spotlight and controversial arguments. She was fined a sum of $15,000 and was threatened with disqualification from Roland Garros due to her refusal to honor mandatory media appearances and commitments.
The organizers of the French Open stated that she had been treated with nothing less than “care and respect” despite the accusations that they were heavy-handed.
Naomi Osaka’s last appearance at Wimbledon was in 2019, where she lost in the first round. The tournament wasn’t held in 2020 due to COVID-19, and she lost in the third round of the competition in 2017 and 2018.
In the same vein, two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal also announced earlier on Thursday that he would miss this year’s tournament and the Olympics. He explained this by saying, “I want to prolong my career.”
Osaka also withdrew from a WTA tournament in Berlin after Roland Garros, making Wimbledon the second tournament she has withdrawn from since she abandoned her French Open campaign after one match.
She’s one of the highlight stars of the upcoming Olympics, and expectations are high that she’ll clinch a gold medal for the host country. She has been an exciting introduction to women’s tennis with four Grand Slam titles, winning the 2018 and 2020 US Opens and the 2019 and 2021 Australian Open championships.
Beyond tennis, Osaka, also of Haitian descent, has been a prominent social activist. During her victorious US Open campaign in 2020, she wore customized facemasks that had the names of victims of racial injustice in America.