Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon


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Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew Saturday from this year’s Wimbledon tournament, citing a lingering left Achilles’ tendon injury.

This is the second consecutive year Osaka has sat out Wimbledon. The 24-year-old last participated in the grass-court Grand Slam tournament in 2019, when Russia’s Yulia Putintseva upset her in the opening round.

Osaka suffered the Achilles injury in Madrid in May. On social media Saturday, Osaka wrote, “my Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time.” She included a motivational note titled “after the storm comes the calm.”

“I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you’re never gonna be used to them, but it’s how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character,” Osaka wrote in her note. “I’ve been repeating mantras a lot in my head recently. I don’t know if it’s to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realizing that everything will work out fine as long as I put in the work. Cause what more can you do?”

Osaka played through the Achilles injury at the French Open last month with tape on her foot. She fell to America’s Amanda Anisimova, 7-5, 6-4, in the first round. Osaka, who stretched her tendon during that match, said she took a painkiller beforehand.

Archives: Naomi Osaka loses at French Open, may skip point-less Wimbledon

Afterward, Osaka cited the Women’s Tennis Association removing ranking points from Wimbledon as a reason to skip the tournament. The WTA made that decision after banning Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Osaka, formerly the world’s top player, is ranked No. 43 by the WTA after missing a significant amount of competition the past few years. Osaka has played 17 matches this season.

“I’m not sure why, but I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition,” Osaka said to reporters last month. “I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just feels that way. Whenever I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100 percent. I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances, but that might change.”

On June 9, Osaka posted a video on Twitter of her running on an underwater treadmill while rehabbing from her Achilles injury.

After the coronavirus canceled Wimbledon in 2020, Osaka withdrew from last year’s London event as part of a mental health hiatus. In her three appearances in the Wimbledon championships, Osaka hasn’t advanced past the third round.

All four of Osaka’s Grand Slam titles have come on hard courts. She last qualified for a Grand Slam final when she won the 2021 Australian Open.

This year’s Wimbledon competition will occur between June 27 and July 10.


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