Naomi Osaka, the Japanese-Haitian tennis sensation, has elected to withdraw from the upcoming Wimbledon tournament.
This marks the second grand slam that the 23 year old will miss in the last month after previously dropping out of the French Open.
“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year. She is taking some personal time with friends and family,” said representatives from her team. “She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans.”
Her withdrawal from the French Open earlier this month sparked controversy, as Osaka had originally declined to attend mandatory press conferences and was fined. She cited her mental health as the key factor in not wanting to speak to the press.
In a statement released on Twitter, Osaka stated that she had been fighting long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018, and has had a “really hard time coping with that.”
Her win in that tournament against Serena Williams was met with boos from the American crowd. But it was the victory that brought her name into the limelight, for better or for worse.
Numerous athletes have come to praise her actions as a step in the right direction and a great way to raise awareness for mental health in sports.
“She did a phenomenal job, and I think it’s going to lead to more people coming out,” said Richard Sherman, cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers. “She was very vulnerable, and I think that liberates a lot of people to come out.”
Sources: BUZZ-CARIBBEAN.COM, NBCNEWS.COM, THEGUARDIAN.COM, ESPN.COM, CBC.CA