By Rohith Nair
(Reuters) – Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Wimbledon championships starting this month for personal reasons, but her agent said on Thursday that the world’s number two will be ready for the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan’s Osaka dropped out of the French Open last month following her first-round win after organizers fined her $ 15,000 and threatened to kick her out of the tournament when she refused to attend subsequent mandatory press conferences. to the match.
The 23-year-old, who said she had “social anxiety,” explained that the media question line after the games affected her mental well-being.
“Naomi will not be playing at Wimbledon this year. She is taking personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her local fans,” Osaka’s agent told Reuters by email.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Osaka’s participation at Wimbledon was in doubt this month when she withdrew from a WTA 500 grass court tournament in Berlin, which was intended to serve as preparation for the Grand Slam.
Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam winner, had announced in the run-up to the French Open that she would not face the media and stood her ground.
An energetic letter from the board of directors of the four Grand Slam tournaments followed, warning him of a possible expulsion from Roland Garros and future majors, after which he announced his retirement on social media.
Osaka’s sudden withdrawal drew a great deal of support from fellow tennis professionals and other athletes, including Venus and Serena Williams (NYSE :), Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and former Olympic speed champion Usain Bolt.
Judy Murray, mother of three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray, also spoke out in support of Osaka, saying that tennis players face extremely high demands from the media.
The reaction to the withdrawal from Osaka put the organizers of the French Open in reverse. Although they defended their handling of the situation, they accepted that the governing bodies must improve on mental health issues.
Osaka’s withdrawal was a second major blow to Wimbledon after 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafa Nadal announced that he would skip the grass race after a grueling season on clay.
Spaniard Nadal also said he would skip the Olympics, which begin on July 23.
Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka grew up idolizing 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and turned pro in 2013 at age 15.
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