Tennis champion Naomi Osaka has announced that she will not play at Wimbledon this year. Instead, Osaka will spend time with her friends and family in the coming weeks. The Haitian-Japanese tennis star will also continue to train for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo next month.
"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," Osaka's representatives stated.
This is the third time that Osaka has withdrawn from a tournament in recent weeks. First, she withdrew from the French Open in late May, citing mental health concerns. Then, she withdrew from the German Open in early June.
“We have received notification Naomi Osaka cannot start in Berlin,” Berlin WTA organizers told Reuters on June 7.
“After consulting her management, she will take a break.”
Osaka's decision to take a break from tennis has largely been driven by the defense of her mental health. In years prior, she has talked about her bouts with depression and how constant media coverage can play a role in accelerating her anxiety. Her decision to open up about such matters has drawn criticism from some, but it has also garnered support from Serena Williams, LeBron James and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Osaka is not the only star to withdraw from Wimbledon this week. Fellow tennis star Rafael Nadal has also announced that he will not participate in either Wimbledon or the 2021 Summer Olympic Games. Nadal noted that he needed to take a break from the game in order to rest his body and prolong his career.
"I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision," he tweeted.
"The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition."
Wimbledon will move forward on June 28 and run through July 11 in London. Just a few weeks later, the 2021 Summer Olympic Games will kick off in Tokyo on July 23.