Naomi Osaka may pull out of Wimbledon after ranking points stripped

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has revealed she may withdraw from Wimbledon after the tournament was stripped of its ranking points.

Both the WTA and ATP announced last week that players at the prestigious event would not receive ranking points.

The International Tennis Federation will also not grant ranking points in the junior and wheelchair events.

The decision was made after the All England Lawn Tennis Club banned Russian and Belarusian players from all grass-court events in the UK.

Osaka has become the first high-profile player to suggest she will not play at Wimbledon, claiming it would feel like an exhibition event.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure if I am going to go to Wimbledon,” she said. “I would love to go to get some experience on the grass court… but I’m the type of player who gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.

“I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points it’ll be more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels like that way and whenever I think of something like an exhibition I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.

“I didn’t even make my decision yet but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances. That might change but I do want to get more experience on the grass and I know that the Berlin tournament is giving out points.”

Naomi Osaka lost to Amanda Anisimova in the first round of the French Open

Osaka made the revelation after losing to Amanda Anisimova in the first round of the French Open. Her comments came just a day after former US Open champion Sloane Stephens defended the WTA’s decision.

“I think when you look at the principles and what our tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated,” she said. “That’s exactly what’s happening.”

But Osaka is not alone in her stance. Australian number one Ajla Tomljanović reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year, accumulating 430 ranking points and eventually rising to a career-high of 38th in the world.

As Tomljanovic is now unable to defend the points she earned last year, she is expected to plummet down the world rankings to 85th.

“I don’t think they’ll carry over the points earned from 2021, they’ll get wiped and then you don’t have a chance to defend your points,” she said. “That’s very unfair, in my opinion.”

“It’s going to be very strange to go to Wimbledon where no points will be on offer. Sometimes unfair things happen and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.”

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