'Sad for tennis': Fans rocked by Naomi Osaka's bombshell call

Naomi Osaka is seen here looking sad during a practice session.
Naomi Osaka is skipping Wimbledon for personal reasons but will be 'ready' for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Pic: Getty

Naomi Osaka has become the latest high-profile star to pull out of Wimbledon, in a decision that has left tennis fans sad but perhaps not surprised.

Fresh from the news men's superstar Rafael Nadal was also withdrawing from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympic Games, Osaka's team confirmed she wouldn't be taking part in the grass-court grand slam at the All England Club.

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Osaka has withdrawn from the year's third major because of personal reasons, but she will be targeting the Tokyo Olympic Games in her homeland, beginning in July.

The Japanese player has been on a break from tennis to deal with her mental health concerns after sensationally quitting the French Open at the end of last month.

The 23-year-old withdrew from the tournament before her second round match after organisers fined her when she refused to attend mandatory post-match press conferences.

The Australian Open champion said unsympathetic questioning after games had impacted on her mental well-being.

Wimbledon chiefs only yesterday offered a positive outlook on Osaka's chances of playing in the grass-court major, with Wimbledon CEO Sally Bolton revealing that they'd reached out to her team.

Tournament director Jamie Baker added: "I had the conversation with her team. It's absolutely clear that we're here, we're completely open for any discussions when they want to have that.

"Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what.

"We treat every single player with a tremendous amount of care. That's one of the main reasons for me and my role. We've been building those relationships so there's a constant, ongoing dialogue and we will just continue to behave in this way."

However, Osaka's team have now revealed that the 23-year-old will use the Wimbledon period to be with loved ones, before she gets "ready for the Olympics".

"Naomi won't be playing Wimbledon this year. She is taking some personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans," Osaka's agent reported on Thursday.

The four-time grand slam winner had announced in the build-up to the French Open that she would not face the media and stuck to her stance, which led to a $US15,000 ($A19,800) fine.

Pictured here, Naomi Osaka at Wimbledon in 2019.
Wimbledon chiefs had hoped Naomi Osaka would compete at the All England Club in 2021. Pic: Getty

A strongly-worded letter from the board of the four grand slam tournaments followed, warning her of possible expulsion from Roland Garros and future majors - after which she announced her withdrawal on social media.

French Open organisers defended their handling of the situation but accepted that the governing bodies need to do better on mental health issues.

Osaka's withdrawal is a second blow to Wimbledon after 20-times Grand Slam winner Rafa Nadal also announced on Thursday that he was skipping the tournament following a gruelling clay-court season.

Shattered tennis fans have flooding social media to share their disappointment at the news.

with AAP

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