Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Wimbledon to ‘take some personal time with friends and family’.
Osaka had previously suggested that she would take some time away from the game after withdrawing from the French Open due to mental health issues in wake of criticism for her media boycott in Paris.
The world No 2 has now confirmed her decision to skip Wimbledon, which starts on June 28, but insists she will be ready for the Olympics in her homeland of Japan.
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Wimbledon to take some personal and family time
A statement from her team read: ‘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Osaka will extend her break from professional tennis – having recently withdrawn from the French Open – in a blow to Wimbledon organisers .
Osaka made the decision to step away from the sport after finding herself at the centre of a row at the tournament in France where she was threatened with expulsion if she did not renege on her decision to boycott the media.
The world No 2 decided to skip her media duties throughout the tournament and faced a lot of controversy in doing so.
She decided to skip her media duties throughout the tournament leading to her withdrawal
She recently took to Instagram to thank those who had sent her messages of support
She was threatened with expulsion from Roland Garros and any future Slams if she continued to boycott the media.
Osaka would also be handed a fine of more than £10,000 if she refused to change her mind.
As a result, the Japanese tennis player decided to remove herself from the situation and withdraw from the tournament.
Nevertheless, Wimbledon chiefs had hoped Osaka would return to the court to feature at Wimbledon.
She was threatened with expulsion from any future Slams if she continued the boycott
Tournament director Jamie Baker said: ‘It is absolutely clear that we are here, we are completely open for any discussions when they want to have that.
‘Look, it goes without saying that we want the best players to compete here no matter what.’
However, Osaka has decided against playing at the highly prestigious tournament this summer.
Nadal also pulled out of Wimbledon on Thursday as he cited his body as a reason to take extra care at the age of 35.
The Spaniard, who also announced he will play no part at the Olympics, said in a statement: ‘The fact that there have only been two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay-court season.
‘It’s never an easy decision but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team, I understand that it is the right decision.
‘The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy.’
Nevertheless, Osaka insists she will be at the Olympics in her homeland of Japan this summer
‘Absolutely gutted!’: Wimbledon fans are left fuming as technical problems wreck their first-ever mass online sale with thousands of fans in the queue for tickets… but many are locked out after access codes didn’t come through
Tennis fans have been left frustrated by enormous queues to purchase tickets for this year’s Wimbledon after over 170,000 were put on sale at the same time.
There was chaos just after 1pm on Thursday when hundreds of thousands of people logged on to try and secure tickets in the first online sale.
It led to virtual queues for the show courts so big most people had absolutely no chance of securing any tickets, which sold out in about 40 minutes.
Sportsmail reporter Nick Harris said there were 120,000 people ahead of him in the queue. Another ticket hopeful said 88,000 were in front of them.
And others complained they hadn’t been emailed their access code after pre-registering for the sale on the ‘myWimbledon’ website.
Others didn’t get their code until well after 1pm – when the sale opened.
Tennis fans were left fuming after technical issues on the Wimbledon ticketing website saw them miss out as 170,000 tickets for the Championships were put on sale
Sportsmail’s Nick Harris shared a screenshot of the enormous online queues to buy tickets for this year’s Wimbledon, with over 120,000 waiting ahead of him
Many took to Twitter to complain about having little to no chance of securing tickets in the sale
Everyone hoping to secure tickets for the reduced capacity Grand Slam – which runs from June 28 until July 11 – had to pre-register before midnight last night.
However, that apparently offered no guarantee that the access code would arrive in time for the sale.
Wimbledon said guests needed to be pre-registered with ‘myWimbledon’ and opted in the marketing communications in order to receive their access code in time.
One Twitter user fumed: ‘Wimbledon ticket situation is a complete shambles. Asking for code but no one appears to have been sent one last night. Embarrassing.’
Another posted: ‘I literally clicked on Ticket Sale button the second it became active… and yet there’s 10,000 people ahead of me in the virtual queue. This is why it’s impossible to have an online sale for Wimbledon tickets.’
One wrote: ‘Not been sent a Wimbledon access code for tickets despite registering as a MyWimbledon member ages ago. In the queue but can’t buy tickets.’
Others demanded an explanation from Ticketmaster and Wimbledon organisers as to why their code hadn’t arrived in time.
The historic sporting event – which was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic last year – usually distributes tickets via a ballot several months in advance.
But uncertainty over coronavirus restrictions at this year’s Wimbledon led to an online sale being held through the Ticketmaster platform.
There will be a second opportunity to buy tickets next week.
Another complaint was that the access code required to buy tickets hadn’t arrived by email
A statement issued to MailOnline by Wimbledon read: ‘As expected, we received enormous demand for this initial sale of tickets for The Championships 2021.
‘In order to participate in the sale, guests needed to be registered with myWimbledon, and opted in to receive marketing communications from us in their myWimbledon profile so that we could legally contact them.
‘We issued codes to each guest who had registered, and opted in, so that we could protect the purchase of only one pair of tickets per guest.
‘These codes were unique to each individual and were all issued by 12.50, ahead of the sale commencing at 13.00.
‘The vast majority of guests have had no issues and successfully purchased tickets.
‘We appreciate the disappointment of those who were not able to get tickets on this occasion, but there will be additional opportunities to purchase tickets for this year’s Championships.
‘We encourage all those interested to make sure they are opted in to receive marketing communications from us.’
The tournament will initially be played in front of crowds at 50 per cent capacity. This will rise as the fortnight progresses.
The men’s and women’s singles finals on the 15,000-capacity Centre Court will be played before full capacity crowds as pilot events.
This makes them exempt from the strict Covid-19 capacity limits enforced by the Government.
It also means the finals will go ahead with a full crowd despite ‘Freedom Day’ being pushed back to July 19.
Centre Court will house a full crowd on July 10 and 11 despite Freedom Day being pushed back
The last two sessions of the World Snooker Championship final at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on May 3 were pilot events – meaning an audience full of spectators could watch on.
Everyone attending Wimbledon will need to provide certification of a recent negative Covid test to gain entry or proof of being double vaccinated.
Once inside, however, they will be free to roam the grounds as has been the case in years gone by.
The Wimbledon Queue, another way to gain access to the grounds, will be absent this year.
Fans will need to provide proof of double vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, but will then be able to move freely around the grounds
Wimbledon organisers had to defend themselves against allegations of elitism after the Government designated it as a pilot event.
The likes of Gary Neville and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham claimed that the Championships are receiving undue preference.
Neville had led the charge when tweeting: ‘Can’t dance at a wedding but can stuff strawberries and champagne down your neck at the All England Club.’
There have been suggestions from the likes of Gary Neville (above) and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham that Wimbledon is receiving undue preference as a Government pilot event
Neville had led the charge when tweeting: ‘Can’t dance at a wedding but can stuff strawberries and champagne down your neck at the All England Club’
However, Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton defended the tournament and its enhanced ticket arrangements that will see around 22,000 spectators per day, saying: ‘I don’t think that has got anything to do with class. That has just got to do with testing at events.
‘It is likely a number of other events will be announced in the coming days that will also be part of that third stage event research programme.
‘Our view is very clearly that Wimbledon is for everyone. So I don’t recognise us as an elitist organisation. It’s not for us to comment on what it’s possible to do in other settings or on the Government’s decision.’
The courts at SW19 are being prepared ready for the tournament to begin on June 28
Bolton had expressed confidence that the ticketing website would hold up to demand.
She said: ‘We’re very confident that the infrastructure will hold up, we are putting in place the measures to manage the level of demand over a period of time.
‘We are phasing the volume of tickets on sale to manage demand and provide people with as many opportunities as possible to buy, so if they don’t get tickets in the first round, there is further opportunity.’