Naomi Osaka still needs some time for herself.
After her resounding withdrawal from Roland Garros at the end of May, where she had said she suffered from depression and anxiety, the Japanese star gave up playing Wimbledon and made an appointment this summer at her home, at the Tokyo Games.
“Naomi won't play at Wimbledon this year.
She takes time for herself, with her friends and her family ”, indicates the press release sent to AFP by the agent of the player Stuart Duguid.
The day before, the organizers of the 3rd round of the Grand Slam of the tennis season (June 28-July 11), still hoping for his presence, had contacted his team, without having been able to "speak to Naomi herself", and had added not have "received confirmation" of non-participation.
But the world No. 2 and four-time Grand Slam winner (US Open 2018 and 2020, Australian Open 2019 and 2021), 23, had warned that she would take a step back from the competition, after her resounding withdrawal of the women's table at Roland Garros on May 31, citing anxiety problems and explaining having notably gone through "long periods of depression" since 2018.
Second hard blow
This episode was the brutal end of a very hectic week in the tennis world, after she initially refused to attend tournament press conferences to "keep her sanity".
Sanctioned with a fine of $ 15,000, she had been threatened with exclusion not only from the Paris tournament, but also from other Grand Slam events.
Accused of having had a heavy hand, the organizers of Roland Garros protested by saying that they had treated her with "care and respect".
Almost three weeks later, Osaka, which also gave up participating in the Berlin tournament this week, will therefore not return to London, where it has never passed the third round, eliminated at this stage in 2017 and 2018, even before being released in the first round the following year.
A second blow for Wimbledon in the space of a few hours, since earlier Thursday, the world N.3, Rafael Nadal, had also announced his package in order to "let his body recover".
The Spaniard, 13 times crowned on Parisian clay, was stripped of his throne at Roland Garros last Friday, beaten in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic after an epic fight, in which he appeared physically marked.
And a package by training others, it is the Austrian Dominic Thiem, 5th in the world, who announced Thursday evening his non-participation in the other major tennis event of the summer, at the Tokyo Olympics, which Nadal will not participate in either.
The Austrian, who has been going through a difficult patch for a few months, does not feel “ready to play at his best level”.
Tokyo, favorable context
Games where, on the other hand, Osaka counts.
"She will be ready for (Tokyo) and is eager to perform in front of her audience," assured her agent.
The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8.
And even if the presence of Japanese spectators to attend the competitions is not yet guaranteed - no foreign public will be present in Tokyo, according to the restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic -, the Japanese will therefore play home.
In a context that it must hope for more favorable than the one it has faced in recent weeks, Osaka should be one of the major figures of the Games. Not only because she will not aim for anything other than a gold medal, but also because she became more than a sportswoman last year, by being one of the spokespersons of the fight against the racism.
At the Cincinnati tournament, she boycotted her semi-final just after the James Blake affair, this black man who received several police shots in the back in Kenosha (Wisconsin), before finally playing it the next day when the organizers had decided to stop the game as a sign of solidarity. At the US Open, in the wake, she entered the court in every game, wearing a mask inscribed with the names of African-American victims of police violence in the United States.