Naomi Osaka Announces Wimbledon Decision
By Jason Hall
June 17, 2021
"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 statement released by Osaka's representatives obtained by New York Times tennis reporter Stuart Fraser on Thursday (June 17) states.
Last month, Osaka, 23, withdrew from the French Open citing her "well-being" after being fined for skipping a press conference after her first-round victory.
Days later, the No. 2 overall WTA player announced she planned to withdraw from the Berlin WTA 5000 tournament, which began on Monday (June 14).
BREAKING: Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Wimbledon.— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) June 17, 2021
A statement from her team says: "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."
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” Osaka wrote on Instagram in May while announcing her decision to withdraw from the French Open. “More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.” Osaka has dealt with depression and anxiety and has said she will “take some time away from the court.”
The Berlin WTA 5000 tournament is considered a warm-up to Wimbledon, so Osaka's decision to miss the ongoing German event may have foreshadowed her decision on Thursday.
Osaka, a native of the city that shares her name and resident of Beverly Hills, will represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, which will begin next month.
Osaka has been one of tennis' biggest stars since her first Grand Slam victory, an upset of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open at the age of 20, which she said began her "long bouts of depression."
"I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly," Osaka wrote in her announcement to withdraw the French Open. "The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."
"Anyone that knows me I'm introverted and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety," Osaka added.
Wimbledon is set to begin its first-round of tournament play on Monday, June 28.