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Tennis pro Naomi Osaka announces she'll return to the sport for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Learn everything you need to know about her decision.

Is Naomi Osaka still going to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

Tennis champion Naomi Osaka made waves in the sports community following a withdrawal from the French Open in order to take care of her mental health. The 23-year-old withdrew from the competition after a rift formed between her and the organizers due to her refusal to be part of the pre-tournament media conferences. Osaka stated that there was no regard for athlete mental health.

Osaka also revealed that she has been struggling with anxiety & depression following her first Grand Slam win at the US Open back in 2018. Despite threats from the French Tennis Federation of fines & expulsion, Osaka withdrew. Many athletes applauded Osaka for being open about her mental health struggles as there isn’t really conversation about athletes & mental health out there.

Now, however, Osaka has laid out her future plans for the world of tennis. If you’re curious to learn where she’s looking to go next and if it involves the 2021 Olympics, then here’s everything that you need to know.

Wimbledon? No

Before the Tokyo Olympics, tennis stars will meet up for the annual Wimbledon tournament. The news is not that surprising. After withdrawing from the French Open, Osaka then withdrew from Berlin’s WTA 5000 grass-court tournament. This caused fans to speculate whether or not the tennis star, who is ranked number two in women’s tennis, would appear in Wimbledon. 

On Thursday, Osaka announced her decision to withdraw from Wimbledon, which takes place in July. A statement from her agent 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 had been in talks with Wimbledon officials. 

Osaka is not the only tennis pro to withdraw from the tournament. Twenty time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal announced that he would pull out of Wimbledon & the 2021 Olympics. He said, “The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition.” 

Osaka will return for the 2021 Olympics

Osaka, who chose her Japanese citizenship over her US citizenship in 2019, has been working toward representing Team Japan in the 2021 Olympics. That is, of course, if the 2021 Olympics will go forward. It’s definitely a rather . . . charged subject in Japan at this time with a good portion of the population wanting the event either postponed or outright cancelled. 

Osaka, who is half Japanese & half Haitian, is hoping to make her return and play for fans in her home country. It’s unknown how the country will handle the upcoming 2021 Olympics, especially since COVID is still so prominent. Currently, only one in five Japanese adults have been vaccinated. Foreign spectators have been denied entry for the Olympics and debates continue on if domestic spectators will be allowed in.

Hopefully, Japan will figure out how to handle the 2021 Olympics going forward. Osaka has used her voice to bring a conversation about mental health in sports to the forefront. Maybe throw some attention on COVID & Japan? Currently, Osaka lives in Beverly Hills where she will spend her hiatus with family & friends as she prepares for the Olympics. 

Are you excited for the 2021 Olympics? What do you think about Naomi Osaka withdrawing from Wimbledon? Should we postpone the 2021 Olympics due to the issue of COVID in Japan? Should Olympic athletes voice their opinions about whether or not the games should be held? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. 

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