Women’s tennis star Naomi Osaka hinted a few weeks ago that she might not compete at Wimbledon, and now she’s made it official: she’s not playing.
Citing injury and “stressful times,” Osaka took to Twitter to bow out until “next time.” Take a look:
my Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time 🌱👋🏾 pic.twitter.com/mryWdKnitN
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) June 18, 2022
Her unpredictable temperament aside, Osaka does have a valid reason not to compete at Wimbledon this year. The All England Club announced a couple of months ago that it would not permit Russian or Belarussian athletes to compete this year because of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and Women’s Tennis Association then stripped Wimbledon of its ranking points shortly thereafter.
According to OutKick’s Anthony Farris, “The act of stripping the tournament of its ranking points essentially makes this year’s Wimbledon an exhibition event for women’s players.”
Osaka is still nursing the Achilles injury she suffered at the Madrid Open back in early May and may have aggravated it at the French Open a few weeks later. So she probably shouldn’t risk further injury at a tournament that won’t yield her any ranking points anyway, even if she wins.
The U.S. Open in late August is the last major tennis tournament of the year, and it has already said publicly that all qualifying competitors can participate, regardless of national origin. So maybe that will be the “next time” we see Osaka on the court.