SPORTS

Wimbledon Reaches Out To Naomi Osaka Over Media Operations

The tennis star withdrew from the French Open after shunning press conferences to protect her mental health.

Naomi Osaka is being heard.

Wimbledon organizers have “started a consultation” with the tennis star and others about media operations after she withdrew from the French Open.

Osaka sparked a firestorm over her decision to skip press conferences in Paris, saying she wanted to protect her mental health in an atmosphere that can turn negative. She later quit the tournament, revealing she had suffered social anxiety and “long bouts” of depression since becoming famous.

“We have spoken to her team in the last few weeks,” All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton told the BBC on Thursday. “So yes, we’re certainly remaining engaged with Naomi’s team, as we are with all players.”

“We have started a consultation,” Bolton added. “Of course, that consultation needs to include not just the players, but the media and all of those engaged in that space.”

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrated during her first-round victory at the French Open but later withdrew from the tournament.&nbs
Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrated during her first-round victory at the French Open but later withdrew from the tournament. 

The London tournament’s outreach makes good business sense, too. Osaka, ranked No. 2 in the Women’s Tennis Association, is one of the marquee players, having won four Grand Slam singles titles. But her status for Wimbledon became more doubtful when she withdrew from the grass-court German Open last week.

On Wednesday, Wimbledon director Jamie Baker said he told Osaka’s team that the tournament was “completely open for any discussions,” Reuters reported.

“Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what,” Baker added, per the BBC.

Wimbledon begins June 28.

Osaka has not posted to Instagram and Twitter since May 31.