Naomi Osaka in fresh withdrawal following sad French Open exit

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the German Open, one of the main lead-in grasscourt tournaments for Wimbledon. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the German Open, one of the main lead-in grasscourt tournaments for Wimbledon. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the only pre-Wimbledon grasscourt tournament she was due to play prior to the All England tournament.

In the wake of the Japanese-American star's move to withdraw from the French Open, citing mental health concerns, fans have wondered whether she will compete at Wimbledon.

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The 23-year-old old did not offer any indication of how long she intended to remain away from competition, but her withdrawal from the German Open in Berlin has been seen as a sign by some that she may not compete at Wimbledon.

Osaka was ordered to pay nearly $20,000 by Roland Garros chiefs after she refused to speak to the media following her first-round win.

A joint letter from grand slam organisers then threatened the world No.2 with a ban before Osaka withdrew from the Paris major.

Leading tennis commentator Sam Smith told Wide World of Sports she believed Wimbledon would like look to accomodate Osaka as best as possible.

"The English are great at getting around tables and thrashing things out, and obviously we want Naomi to play at Wimbledon, so I'm just hoping the All England Club speak to her management, and Naomi if possible, and find a way to get through this so that's she's OK," she said.

"The irony is she's done this to relieve the pressure from the media, and it's had completely the opposite effect.

"It's caused a media storm, and caused a lot of fallout on her fellow competitors who've had to answer questions about it, which she did not intend at all."

Naomi Osaka backed by F1 champion Lewis Hamilton

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton has taken aim at French Open organisers for fining Naomi Osaka, and claimed he was "thrown into the pit without any guidance or support" when he started his racing career.

"Naomi is an incredible athlete and a human being and her activism has been so impactful, but when you are at such a young age with so much weight on her shoulders, it is inevitable what has happened," said Hamilton, who wrote in a recent social media post that he struggles with his mental health.

"She was incredibly brave and it is now about asking those in power to think about how they react because the way they reacted with the fine was not good.

"Someone talking about their personal mental health and then being fined for it was not cool.

"They could definitely have handled it better and I hope they take a deep dive into that and find a better way to navigate it in the future."

Naomi Osaka has found a high profile ally in seven time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka has found a high profile ally in seven time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images)

Hamilton, 36, who walked out of a press conference on the eve of the Japanese Grand Prix in 2016 citing unfair media criticism, posted a message in support of Osaka earlier this week.

The seven-time world champion, who trails Red Bull rival Max Verstappen by four points ahead of Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, admitted he too is uneasy with the media glare.

Hamilton was a year younger than Osaka when he burst on to the global sporting stage with McLaren in 2007.

"I have learnt the hard way, and made many a mistake," he continued.

"It can be daunting standing in front of a camera. It is not the easiest thing to do, particularly if you are an introvert and you struggle under those kind of pressures.

"When I was young, I was thrown into the pit and I was not given any guidance or support. I was never prepared to be thrown in front of the camera or guided as to what to look out for and how to navigate through it.

"When youngsters are coming in, they are facing the same thing and I don't know whether that is the best thing for them. We need to be supporting more because you shouldn't be pressured.

"With Naomi's scenario, she didn't feel comfortable because of her own personal mental health and the backlash against her was ridiculous."

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