Naomi Osaka will not compete at Wimbledon this year. On Thursday, Osaka's agent announced that the tennis star has withdrawn from the tournament but will compete in the Olympics, which takes place next month.
"Naomi won't be playing Wimbledon this year," the statement read per ESPN. "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." This comes after Osaka left the French Open before her second-round match due to the backlash she received for not taking part in mandatory post-match news conferences. She revealed she was dealing with anxiety and depression since winning the US Open in 2018.
"I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," Osaka said in a lengthy statement. "I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.
"More important I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as they help dulls my social anxiety."
Osaka, 23, will compete for Japan in the Summer Olympics that was pushed back from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She will team up with Kei Nishikori and Yoshihito and it will be her Olympic debut. When talking about the Olympics in May, Osaka shared her thoughts on if the games should happen.
"Of course I would say I want the Olympics to happen, because I'm an athlete and that's sort of what I've been waiting for my entire life," she said, per the Associated Press. "But I think that there's so much important stuff going on, and especially the past year," Osaka added. "I think a lot of unexpected things have happened and if it's putting people at risk, and if it's making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now."