Naomi Osaka pulls out of Berlin tournament to raise doubts over playing Wimbledon

Naomi Osaka has pulled out of next week’s Berlin WTA 5000 grasscourt tournament, placing her appearance at Wimbledon in doubt.

The four-time Grand Slam champion pulled out of the French Open last week citing mental health grounds.

And the Japanese world No 2 has confirmed to the German tournament that she is taking a “break”.

“We have received notification Naomi Osaka cannot start in Berlin. After consulting her management, she will take a break,” Berlin event organisers said in a statement ahead of the tournament which begins on June 14.

There is no confirmation as to when Osaka will return to the court, with Wimbledon starting on 28 June and the Tokyo Olympics, where she is one of the faces of the Games, starting a week later on 24 July.

The 23-year-old has reached out to her fans on social media, releasing a short statement on Saturday thanking them for their support and understanding her decision to pull out of Roland Garros.

“Just want to thank you for all the love,” Osaka wrote on her Instagram story. “Haven’t been on my phone much but I wanted to hop on here and tell you all that I really appreciate it.”

Last week Sloane Stephens expressed her support for Osaka. “It’s unfortunate, because having to take a step back and say: ‘Hey, I need to do this for me,’ we should support her and applaud her, because a lot of people wouldn’t do that.

“A lot of people play through being miserable and being upset and not being able to speak out and say those things.

“So I think instead of basically traumatising her and making fun of her situation, we should be more accepting and allow her to take the time she needs to work on herself and better herself so she can be in a better position to play tennis and be happy and enjoy her tennis.”

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