The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon, citing Achilles’ injury

Naomi Osaka, pictured stretching her left foot during a first-round loss at last month's French Open, will not play at Wimbledon. (Christophe Ena/AP)
Placeholder while article actions load

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from Wimbledon, citing a lingering left Achilles’ tendon injury.

This is the second consecutive year Osaka has sat out the tournament. The 24-year-old last participated in the grass-court Grand Slam in 2019, when Yulia Putintseva upset her in the opening round.

Osaka suffered the Achilles’ injury in Madrid in May. On Saturday, she wrote on social media, “My Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time.” She included a motivational note titled “after the storm comes the calm.”

“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,” Osaka wrote. “I’ve been repeating mantras a lot in my head recently. I don’t know if it’s to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realizing that everything will work out fine as long as I put in the work. Cause what more can you do?”

Osaka played through the Achilles’ injury with tape on her foot at the French Open last month. She fell to American Amanda Anisimova, 7-5, 6-4, in the first round. Osaka, who stretched her tendon during that match, said she took a painkiller beforehand.

Archives: Naomi Osaka loses at French Open, may skip point-less Wimbledon

Afterward, Osaka cited the Women’s Tennis Association removing ranking points from Wimbledon as a reason to skip the tournament. The WTA made that decision after the tournament banned Russian and Belarusian athletes amid the invasion of Ukraine.

Osaka, formerly the world’s top player, is ranked 42nd by the WTA after missing a significant amount of competition over the past few years. Osaka has played 17 matches this season.

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

On June 9, Osaka posted a video on Twitter of her running on an underwater treadmill.

After the pandemic led to the cancellation of Wimbledon in 2020, Osaka withdrew from last year’s event as part of a mental health hiatus. In her three appearances at Wimbledon, she hasn’t advanced past the third round.

All four of Osaka’s Grand Slam titles have come on hard courts. She last made a Grand Slam final when she won the 2021 Australian Open.

Osaka, formerly the world’s top player, is ranked No. 42 by the WTA after missing a significant amount of competition over the past few years. Osaka has played 17 matches this season.