Friday, July 1, 2022

Wimbledon 2022: Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka to skip Grand Slam tournament over Achilles injury

Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka announced Saturday she will not play at Wimbledon for a second straight year. Osaka, who missed last year’s Wimbledon while taking a mental health break, will skip the 2022 event because of a left Achilles injury. 

In a tweet posted Saturday morning, Osaka wrote her Achilles “still isn’t right” and described her current headspace. 

“I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you’re never gonna be used to them,” Osaka wrote, “but it’s how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character.” 

Osaka, 24, a four-time major champion, saw her ranking plummet to No. 43 this week. Osaka’s drop is largely a byproduct of her playing only 17 matches this season, tied for 54th among players on the WTA Tour this season. 

The last time Osaka played an official match was May 24, when she took a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Amanda Anismova in the French Open’s first round. 

Osaka hinted at a potential Wimbledon absence after the defeat, saying she couldn’t “go at it 100%” if ranking points weren’t going to be awarded. Wimbledon won’t award ranking points this year as part of a response the WTA and ATP made to the All England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players over the war in Ukraine. 

“I’m not sure why, but I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just like feels that way. Whenever I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100%,” Osaka said at the time, per CBS News. “I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing, given the current circumstances.”

Osaka hasn’t won at Wimbledon since 2018, when she reached the third round. She was bounced in the first round the following year, and she didn’t get a chance at redemption in 2020 because the COVID-19 pandemic forced that tournament’s cancellation. 

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