Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Wimbledon, a statement from her agent confirmed Thursday, but she plans to play in the Tokyo Olympics.
“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year,” the statement read. “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.”
The summer Olympics begin on July 23.
This is the third tournament the women’s No. 2 ranked tennis player will miss after withdrawing from the French Open and opting out of a Wimbledon warmup tournament in Berlin.
Wimbledon begins on June 28 and runs through July 11. The season’s third Grand Slam tournament ends less than two weeks prior to the opening ceremony of the Summer Games.
As a native of Japan, Osaka became the face of the Tokyo Olympics when she was featured in one of the first promos last February, before the Games were rescheduled due to COVID-19.
Osaka made headlines in late May when she withdrew from the French Open after her refusal to participate in scheduled pre-tournament media availability created a rift between her and tournament officials.
Prior to her start in the tournament, Osaka announced that she would not participate in the mandatory press conferences due to “no regard for athletes mental health.” She won her first-round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig, and despite speaking during a short on-court interview, she did not attend the postgame conference.
She was fined $15,000 by the French Tennis Federation and risked additional fines and possible expulsion from the French Open if she missed more media opportunities. Osaka withdrew from the tournament altogether shortly after. On the Monday after her first-round win, she released a statement on social media explaining her reasoning for the withdraw.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” said Osaka. “More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use that term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
Osaka further explained how required media availability impacts her social anxiety and creates additional stress for her during tournaments.
One week after her French Open announcement, tournament organizers for the bett1open in Berlin confirmed that Osaka would not compete. Her withdrawal from Berlin immediately raised questions about whether Osaka would participate at Wimbledon.
Osaka, who is touted as one of the best tennis players of her generation, has won both the U.S. Open (2018, 2020) and Australian Open (2019, 2021) twice but has never done better than the third round at either the French Open or Wimbledon. If Osaka competes in Tokyo, it would be the first Olympics for the four-time Grand Slam champion. She would represent the host country during the Games.