Naomi Osaka has revealed she is considering boycotting Wimbledon after the Grand Slam was stripped of ranking points. “I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up,” said the four-time Grand Slam winner.
The ATP and WTA imposed the points penalty after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players following the invasion of Ukraine. British No 1 Cam Norrie has warned that top stars will boycott Wimbledon because the Grand Slam will now be “almost like an exhibition” after the stripping of ranking points.
And now former world No.1 Osaka is the biggest name to admit she could now decide to boycott Wimbledon. “I would say like the decision is affecting my mentality going into grass. I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to go there.
“I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but like at the same time, for me, I don’t want to say pointless – no pun intended -, but I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up or stuff like that. So I think the intention was really good, but the execution is kind of all over the place.”
The Japanese star missed The Championships last year after pulling out of the French Open citing mental health issues and has never got beyond the third round at Wimbledon.#
Wimbledon boycott begins as first player confirms they won’t play after points stripping
After winning her first Australian Open in 2019, she admitted grasscourts were “a little bit frightening for me” – and she fell and hurt her knee on her last appearance at Wimbledon in 2019.
And after losing in the first round at Roland Garros to American No.27 seed Amanda Ansimova 7-5 6-4, world No.38 Osaka said: ”For me, honestly grass, just because I got injured there pretty badly. So it just makes me a bit scared. I feel like you’re going to have to like kind of conquer your fears eventually. So I’m going to see how the decisions turnout is going to be, because I’m sure there will be a little bit of back and forth with the whole point situation. Then I guess I’ll make my decision.”
Former Wimbledon finalist John Isner revealed he opposed the ban on Russian and Belarusian players – and the points penalty. The American world No.26 said: “I don’t know how that’s going to affect the field. It’s going to have a different feel to it. I don’t personally agree with the decision to ban the players from Russia and Belarusia. But the players, we would also prefer to be playing for points, but I get it. I’m not saying the ATP has made a wrong decision, but we would prefer to be playing with points.
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“But I definitely stand with the ATP in the sense that I believe these players should be playing. They don’t have anything to do with the invasion going on. We all just want this, the whole world just wants this to come to an end somehow. It stinks that it’s interfered with sports, but that’s the way of the world now. It’s not just tennis. Me personally, I slipped and fell on the grass last year and I’m still dealing with a knee issue from that. I think I’m going to play, but moving on the grass is tricky. It’s actually pretty dangerous for big guys. That’s one reason I don’t play Queen’s anymore. I think the courts are really slippery. We’ll see.
“But I do think the field is going to be very strong minus the players from Belarus and Russia.”