A year ago, Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open after her first-round victory, citing the need for a mental health break.
This year, former world No. 1 Osaka didn’t make it past the first round. American world No. 28 Amanda Anisimova, a 2019 French Open semifinalist, eliminated the 38th-ranked Osaka 7-5, 6-4 on Monday, May 23 in Paris.
“I thought I tried really hard, and I just feel like it was a bit unfortunate because I wasn’t able to play as many matches leading into this tournament,” Osaka said after the match, according to ESPN. “So there were probably some really bad decisions that I made on certain points, but I think overall I wasn’t too bad.”
Anisimova ended defending champion Osaka’s title hopes at the Australian Open in January.
After her first-round exit in the French capital, Osaka said she’s not ready to commit to playing at this year’s third Grand Slam event, Wimbledon, which is held on grass.
Osaka has captured all four of her Grand Slam titles on hard courts (two at the US Open, two at the Australian Open). She has struggled to play consistently on clay and on grass.
In a ruling that may ultimately impact her decision for Wimbledon, which begins on June 27, the ATP and WTA Tours decided to get rid of ranking points for the tournament in response to tournament organizers banning players from Russia and Belarus from competing.
In essence, Wimbledon becomes a lucrative but glorified exhibition event due to the elimination of ranking points. Which left Osaka without a definitive plan for what lies ahead.
“Yeah, like for me, I’m not sure why but, like, I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, right?” Osaka was quoted as saying by ESPN. “But my brain just, like, feels that way. Whenever I think like something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100%. I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances but, you know, that might change.”
Author: Ed Odeven