Naomi Osaka confirms bombshell Wimbledon move amid controversy

Naomi Osaka will not compete at Wimbledon this year, citing a need to recover from an achilles injury. (Photo by Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka will not compete at Wimbledon this year, citing a need to recover from an achilles injury. (Photo by Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has confirmed she will not be competing at Wimbledon this year, with the four-time grand slam champion citing an achilles injury.

The 24-year-old had been on the entry list despite reservations after the WTA and ATP stripped Wimbledon of ranking points, even posting footage of her rehabilitation in recent weeks.

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However on Saturday it was confirmed that Osaka would not be playing Wimbledon this year, with disappointed fans taking to social media to wish Osaka the best.

“My Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time", she wrote on Twitter announcing the move.

Osaka will wait another year for a chance to add to her win tally at Wimbledon, where she has not won a match since 2018.

Her last visit to Wimbledon resulted in a first round exit in 2019, after coosing to skip Wimbledon last year due to mental health reasons.

Last month Osaka said the ranking points being stripped over Wimbledon's refusal to allow Russian and Belarussian players to enter the tournament was a demotivating factor.

“I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances," she said.

“I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.

“The intention of this measure was good, but the execution is all over the place. I’m sure there will be a bit of back and forth with the whole point situation. Then I guess I’ll make my decision.”

“I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition.”

Tennis writer Jose Morgado said it was 'sad' to see another Wimbledon go by without one of the world's top talents in Osaka competing.

Naomi Osaka out of Wimbledon. Not too surprising, but still sad. Hoping she can comeback healthy for her favorite part of the season," he wrote.

Former Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard of Canada withdrew from Wimbledon late on Friday because of the lack of ranking points as she fights back from injury.

The Wimbledon document lists her reason as a shoulder injury.

Olympics champion Bencic gears up for Wimbledon as Osaka out

While Osaka focuses her preparation on the hardcourt swimg later this year, reigning Olympic chanpion Belinda Bencic is firing on all cylinders.

She reached the final of the Berlin WTA grass event for a second straight year after battling back to beat second seed Maria Sakkari 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4.

Last year's Berlin runner-up got off to a shaky start as Greece's Sakkari raced into a two-game lead. She was then pegged back by Olympic champion Bencic, who however only converted two of her 11 break points in the opening set.

Belinda Bencic's Wimbledon preparation has been strong, progressing to the final of the Berlin WTA grass event. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
Belinda Bencic's Wimbledon preparation has been strong, progressing to the final of the Berlin WTA grass event. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Sakkari duly prevailed in the tiebreak at a sun-baked Steffi Graf stadium.

But eighth seed Bencic boosted her build-up to Wimbledon, which begins on June 27, by seeing off two break points to hold at the start of the second set. It then went with serve until Bencic broke to seal it 6-4.

The third set was very similar with the 25-year-old Bencic coming out on top having saved four break points in the finale.

She will face the winner of the later semi-final between Coco Gauff and top seed Ons Jabeur in Sunday's final.

With AAP

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