Naomi Osaka 'Leaning' Towards Not Playing at Wimbledon After French Open First-Round Defeat

The tennis star has not decided if she will compete at the 2022 Wimbledon tournament in June following the WTA's announcement of a change in point rankings

Naomi Osaka during her match against Amanda Anisimova on Suzanne Lenglen court in the 2022 French Open finals day two.
Naomi Osaka. Photo: Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty

After a disappointing first-round defeat in the 2022 French Open on Monday, Naomi Osaka is casting doubt on her commitment to Wimbledon later this year.

According to USA Today, Osaka, 24, double-faulted twice on a break point in each set. The missteps resulted in a first-round loss to American Amanda Anisimova.

Osaka's previous highest results at the French Open have been making it to the third round — in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

After the match, the four-time Grand Slam champion told reporters that the WTA's decision not to include ranking points from this year's tournament has affected her "mentality" around playing. Osaka said playing Wimbledon without points would be "more like an exhibition," according to The Guardian.

The decision by both the WTA and ATP to remove ranking points is a result of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club's ban of Russian and Belarusian players due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Washington Post previously reported. ("The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalized or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or the decisions made by the governments of their countries," said the WTA in a statement.)

"I just can't go at it 100%," Osaka told reporters. "I didn't even make my decision yet, but I'm leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances."

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Osaka said that while she doesn't want to call competing in the tournament "pointless," she explained that finding the motivation to play would be a challenge.

"I'm the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my score go up. So I think the intention was really good, but the execution is kind of all over the place," she explained, according to The Guardian.

Osaka has become a prominent advocate for mental health in sports after the four-time Grand Slam champion opened up publicly about her struggles with depression. Osaka's return to this year's French Open came after she withdrew from the 2021 Grand Slam tournament, citing a mental health break.

During an interview with SELF, Osaka said she's glad that her opening up about her own mental health "gave others the opportunity to also speak up." She added that now she's "content" in her "mental health journey."

The 2022 Wimbledon tournament begins on Monday, June 27.

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