Why did Naomi Osaka withdraw from Wimbledon? Tennis star announces she will not play in tournament

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Naomi Osaka won’t be hitting the grass at Wimbledon this year.

The tennis star recently came under fire for her decision to not partiicipate in mandatory press conferences at the French Open, eventually withdrawing from the tournament after winning her first-round match. Citing her mental health issues, Osaka said she needed time away from competing.

Osaka is still going to be away from the court with the upcoming Wimbledon tournament, which starts on June 28.

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Osaka, who won a major earlier in the year at the Australian Open, has been open about her struggles with anxiety and mental health, though her statement doesn’t mention that as a reason for stepping away. 

Here’s why:

Why did Naomi Osaka withdraw from Wimbledon?

On June 17, Osaka’s representatives announced that she won’t be participating in the 2021 Wimbledon as she takes “personal time” off to spend with friends and family.

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“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year. She is taking some personal time with friends and family,” according to a statement from Osaka’s team. “She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans.”

Osaka’s advocacy for mental health for athletes has taken center stage since her withdrawal from the French Open, but her statement simply says that “personal time” is her reason for sitting out the tournament.

The latter half of the statement explains that Osaka will be planning to play in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, her home country.

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The 23-year-old has four grand slam titles, winning the U.S. Open twice and the Australian Open twice. She is currently ranked No. 2 in the world.

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