Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon due to ongoing Achilles injury: ‘It still isn’t right’

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The former World No1 has been suffering with an ongoing Achilles issue sustained during a second-round defeat by Sara Sorribes Tormo at the Madrid Open in May that also forced her withdrawal from the subsequent Italian Open in Rome.

That injury is still lingering and means Osaka will not be present when the third Grand Slam of the year begins at the All England club on June 27.

“My Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time,” she wrote on social media on Saturday.

Adding a wave and a grass emoji, the four-time slam winner continued: “After the storm comes the calm. This is a saying that I’m actively trying to master.

“I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you’re never gonna be used to them but it’s how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character. I’ve been repeating mantras in my head a lot recently.

“I don’t know if it’s to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realising that everything will work out fine as long as I put the work in. Cause what more can you do?

“Every day before I go to sleep I think of all the people I love and how grateful I am to have them in my life. I honestly just wish the best for them and I hope that my existence brings them as much joy as they do to me.”

Osaka was able to compete at this year’s French Open, where she crashed out in the first round against Amanda Anisimova as she made a short-lived return to Roland Garros 12 months after withdrawing from the clay-court Major to protect her mental health amid a row over her absence from press conferences.

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The 24-year-old pulled out of Wimbledon last summer and later took a four-month break from tennis after shock defeats by Marketa Vondrousova and Leylah Fernandez at the Tokyo Olympic Games and US Open – where she was the defending champion – respectively, revealing she had been suffering long bouts of depression and anxiety since 2018.

Osaka made her return to the sport in Melbourne in January, losing to familiar opponent Anisimova in the third round of the Australian Open and then not featuring in another tournament until Indian Wells in March, where she beat Sloane Stephens before bowing out to Veronika Kudermetova.

The four-time Grand Slam champion went on to reach the final of the Miami Open, however, where she was brushed aside in straight sets by dominant world No1 Iga Swiatek.

Wimbledon did not take place in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while in 2019 Osaka was stunned as the second seed by Yulia Putintseva in the first round. She has never previously made it past the third round at SW19.

Back in May, Osaka admitted that she could miss Wimbledon as the result of the tournament being stripped of its ranking points by the ATP and WTA over the controversial decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing amid the war in Ukraine.

But while Osaka’s withdrawal is due to injury, former finalist Eugenie Bouchard has now confirmed that she is skipping Wimbledon for that reason.

“Due to my shoulder surgery, I get a limited number of protected ranking (PR) entries,” she said on Twitter.

“As much as I love Wimbledon and skipping it makes me sad, using a PR entry at a tournament with no ranking 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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