Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from another tennis tournament just 11 days before it begins. On June 17th the tennis champion’s agents released a statement announcing, “Naomi won‘t be playing Wimbledon this year.” The agents cited “personal time” but insisted she will be ready for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. “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” they concluded, per ESPN.
The Wimbledon tournament starts on June 28th in London as is one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. Osaka is currently ranked number 2 in the world and her withdrawal comes days after she pulled out from the Berlin WTA 5000 tournament to take care of her mental health. Weeks prior, she withdrew from the French Open before the second round due to controversy surrounding her decision to skip mandatory post-match news conferences at the tournament. She was threatened with expulsion from Roland Garros and future Slams if she didn’t put an end to her “media blackout.”
Later Osaka released a statement on social media explaining her decision to withdraw “so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.” “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,” she wrote, referencing the year she was catapulted into the limelight after winning the tournament.
“Anyone that knows me knows 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. Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize, especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.” She went on to explain that her decision to skip the press conferences was necessary to her mental health.