Naomi Osaka pulls out of Wimbledon but aims for Olympics


Japan's Naomi Osaka. (AP)
Japan's Naomi Osaka. (AP)

London - Osaka quit the French Open after organisers fined her when she refused to attend mandatory post-match press conferences

By London

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Published: Fri 18 Jun 2021, 12:03 AM

Women’s tennis world No. 2 Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Wimbledon championship for personal reasons but will be ready for the Tokyo Olympics, British media reported on Thursday.

Osaka, 23, quit the French Open despite a first round victory after organisers fined her when she refused to attend mandatory post-match press conferences. She said unsympathetic questioning after games impacted her mental wellbeing.

“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,” a Times newspaper reporter quoted her team as saying.

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, which led to a $15,000 fine.

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.

French Open organisers defended their handling of the situation but 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 Rafa Nadal also announced he was skipping the British tournament following a gruelling clay-court 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.

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