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Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon citing a ‘leg injury’ after labelling Grand Slam an ‘exhbition’

Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon due to a ‘leg injury’ after admitting she was unlikely to compete following decision to strip its ranking points, with former world No 1 also struggling with Achilles issue

Naomi Osaka has pulled out of Wimbledon this year, citing a ‘leg injury’.

The former world No 1 has previously admitted that she was unlikely to compete at the Grand Slam after it was stripped of its ranking points.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the WTA and ATP made the bombshell decision, with Russian and Belarusian players also prevented from participating.

Osaka, 24, has also been struggling to fully recover from an Achilles issue she sustained during the Italian Open, and admitted the problem ‘is being stubborn still’. 

An update to the women’s withdraw list has now confirmed her absence, with Eugenie Bouchard also pulling out in another blow to the All England Club. 

‘The decision (on ranking points) is affecting my mentality going into grass,’ she said last month. ‘I’m not 100 per cent sure if I’m going to go. 

 

‘I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, it’s like – I don’t want to say pointless, no pun intended – but I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.

‘I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels that way. When I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.

‘I didn’t make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the circumstances, but that might change.’ 

Osaka has not played at Wimbledon since 2019, and has not won any matches at the showpiece since her third round appearances in 2018.

The competition was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, while the superstar did not take part last year citing mental health reasons.

Her absence would make the famous tournament the third consecutive grass-court Grand Slam she has missed.

Bouchard, meanwhile, says the lack of ranking points does not line up with her plans to manage her injury return. She confirmed her decision to not compete yesterday.

‘I have decided to withdraw from Wimbledon due to the WTA’s decision to not award ranking points at this year’s Championships,’ she posted.

The 28-year-old picked up a shoulder injury at the Guadalajara Open last March and crashed down the rankings after undergoing surgery which left her on the sidelines

‘Due to my shoulder surgery, I get a limited number of protected ranking (PR) entries,’ she added.

‘As much as I love Wimbledon and skipping it makes me sad, using a PR entry at a tournament with no rankings points doesn’t make sense.

‘I must choose wisely and use my PR entries at tournaments that will help me get back to where I want to be.’



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