After Nadal, Naomi Osaka pulls out of Wimbledon
Japan's Naomi Osaka has pulled out of Wimbledon in order to prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The news comes a day after 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal announced that he won't compete at the grass-court event. Osaka had earlier withdrawn from the 2021 French Open after a controversy erupted over her refusal to speak to the media at the tournament.
Osaka's agent informed about the development. "Osaka 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 read.
Osaka pulls out of Wimbledon a day after Nadal withdrew from the tournament and Tokyo Olympics, citing the need preserve his health and prolong his career. Nadal said he has taken the tough decision considering the "demanding clay-court season". Last week, Nadal was denied a 14th Roland Garros title after world number one Novak Djokovic defeated him in the semi-finals.
Osaka had won her first-round encounter against Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open. However, she was fined $15,000 for missing the post-match presser. A joint statement from the Grand Slam organizers said Osaka could face expulsion from the tournament if she continued to avoid them. Thereafter, Osaka announced her withdrawal, saying she was going to "take some time away from the court now".
Wimbledon, which was postponed last year, is set to commence on June 28. "Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision," the All England Club said in a statement. "We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year."
Osaka won the Australian Open earlier this year. She became one of the three players in the Open Era to win her first four Grand Slam finals, alongside Roger Federer and Monica Seles. However, Osaka needs to improve her record at Wimbledon. She has a win-loss record of 4-3 in the prestigious tournament. The world number two now eyes an Olympic medal.