The No. 2 female tennis player in the world, Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament according to a statement from her agent.
“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year,” the statement shared by ESPN stated. “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.”
Wimbledon’s Chief Executive Sally Bolton said Thursday that organizers had been in talks with her and other players about the tournament’s media operations. Earlier this month Osaka withdrew from the second round of the French Open citing mental health battles and depression after she refused to do mandatory post-match interviews during the tournament.
French Open officials fined Osaka $15,000 for skipping the interviews after her first round win and said if she continued skipping interviews there would be escalating fines. Osaka withdrew before the second round a day later saying, “I never wanted to be a distraction, and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.”
A bevy of athletes showed support for Osaka including Serena and Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, NFL players Richard Sherman and Dez Bryant and Nike.
Osaka also pulled out of next week’s Berlin WTA 5000 grass-court tournament. However, she has indicated she will play in the Olympics later this summer for Japan.
Mental health has been a growing conversation among professional athletes in a wide range of sports in recent months. Several NBA athletes spoke out during the first round of this year’s NBA Playoffs when several fans spit and threw items at NBA players including Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook who had popcorn and water thrown on him when he was walking back to the locker room after suffering a knee injury.
Osaka, who is 23, has won four Grand Slam singles titles, all on hardcourts. She has had limited success at Wimbledon, reaching the third round in 2017 and 2018 and losing in the first round in 2019.