Naomi Osaka: Four-time Grand Slam winner misses Wimbledon but plans to return to the Olympics


BBC Sport – Olympics
Osaka has reached the third round twice at the All England Club

The Japanese Naomi Osaka won’t play at Wimbledon this year but plans to return in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

The four-time Grand Slam winner will be hanging out with friends and family after also retiring from the French Open in May.

Back then, Osaka, 23, said it would be her take a break from tennis after depression and anxiety.

The world number two says she is “excited to play in front of her home fans in Tokyo”.

Osaka was fined $ 15,000 (£ 10,570) for failing to attend a press conference after her first round match at Roland Garros.

The Grand Slam organizers said she could be banned from the tournament if she refused to participate in media duties.

But the player withdrew from the tournament the next day, saying she had to “protect her mental health”.

“When the time is right, I really want to work with the tour to discuss how we can make things better for the players, the press and the fans,” she added at the time.

Wimbledon’s managing director Sally Bolton had previously announced that the All England Club (AELTC) had been in contact with Osaka’s team and was actively looking for ways to improve its media activities.

“We have started a consultation,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

“Obviously, this consultation needs to involve not only the players, but also the media and everyone involved in the field.”

Wimbledon tournament director Jamie Baker said Wednesday that he had told Osaka’s entourage that the phone lines were always open to discuss any issues that might arise.

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BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

A Wimbledon appearance by Naomi Osaka seemed extremely unlikely since her withdrawal from the French Open.

However, it is gratifying that the 23-year-old can represent her country at her home Olympics in just six weeks.

The shorter-than-usual two-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon may not have made any difference to Osaka’s decision, but it does affect others – especially Rafael Nadal.

The 35-year-old ultimately had to choose between the two Grand Slams.

Roger Federer is someone who will empathize. The 39-year-old retired from Roland Garros after three rounds to protect his knee, but also his chances of being truly competitive at Wimbledon.

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