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Naomi Osaka pulls out of Wimbledon with Achilles problem


Naomi Osaka withdrew from Wimbledon on Saturday, citing a lingering problem with her left Achilles tendon and for the second year in a row she has decided to pull out of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

The four-time major champion and former No. 1-ranked player posted a photo of himself on a grass court and wrote on Twitter: “My achilles is still fine so I'll see you next time.”

Osaka has not played an official match since beating Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the French Open on May 24. During that match, for which he said he took a painkiller, Osaka tried to stretch his tendon by pulling on the toe of his shoe in changeovers and squatting to flex his lower leg between points.

After that defeat, Osaka said she was leaning towards missing Wimbledon because ranking points are not awarded on the professional tennis tour – a response to the All England Club's decision to ban all players from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine.

“I'm not sure why, but I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it's like a show. I know that's not true, right? But that's just how my brain feels. Whenever I think something is a show, I Can't go 100 percent on it,” Osaka said at the time. “I haven't made my decision yet, but in the current situation I'm leaning towards not playing.”

Eugenie Bouchard, who was runner-up at the All England Club in 2014, announced on social media on Friday that she would not play at Wimbledon because no ranking points were available. Bouchard is working her way back from surgery on her right shoulder.

Osaka did not play at Wimbledon a year ago as part of a mental health break after withdrawing from the French Open before her second-round match.

He has not won a match at the All England Club since reaching the third round in 2018. Osaka lost in the first round of Wimbledon in 2019 and the tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka's four Grand Slam titles have come on hard courts: the US Open in 2018 and 2020, and the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021.

Osaka, 24, has played just 17 matches this season and his ranking dropped to No. 43 this week.

Reporting by the Associated Press.


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