Naomi Osaka has suggested she may skip Wimbledon this summer due to the absence of ranking points on offer at the grand slam.
In response to the All England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to the war in Ukraine, the ATP and WTA both recently announced the removal of ranking points at this year’s Wimbledon.
Although there will still be the prestige of playing at tennis’ oldest championship, the inability to move up the rankings with a strong performance will reduce the event to an exhibition according to many players.
Speaking after her first-round defeat to Amanda Anisimova at the French Open, Osaka said: ‘I’m not sure why, but I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition.
‘I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just like feels that way. Whenever I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100%.
‘I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances, but that might change.’
Earlier this year, when Wimbledon confirmed they would be refusing the entries of Russia and Belarusian players, the decision sparked controversy in the tennis world.
Grand slam champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal hit out at the move and urged chiefs at SW19 to change their minds.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian players such as world No.33 Elina Svitolina praised the All England Club for their approach.
Osaka, a former world No.1 and four-time grand slam winner, has not played at Wimbledon since 2019 after taking an extended break from tennis last summer and is keen to play on the grass in south-west London again.
However, without ranking points up for grabs, she says it would be hard for her to compete at a high level.
She added: ‘I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, for me, it’s kind of like – 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 like stuff like that. So I think the intention was really good, but the execution is kind of all over the place.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.