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Osaka says she may skip Wimbledon over ranking points row

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Naomi Osaka. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Former world number one Naomi Osaka said Monday she may skip Wimbledon over the decision to strip the Grand Slam tournament of ranking points.

"I would say the decision is kind of affecting my mentality going into grass, like I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to go there," said Osaka after her 7-5, 6-4 loss to Amanda Anisimova in the French Open first round.

The ATP and WTA tours last week removed ranking points from Wimbledon after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

"I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, I don't want to say it's pointless, but I'm the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up," added the four-time major winner.

"So the intention of this measure was good, but the execution is all over the place.

"I'm sure there will be a bit of back and forth with the whole point situation. Then I guess I'll make my decision."

Wimbledon chiefs branded the move by the two tours, which threatens to reduce the sport's most prestigious tennis tournament to the status of an exhibition event, as "disproportionate".

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Sunday said she supported the move to strip the ranking points.

"I think the decision that was taken was the correct one," said the American.

On Monday, Osaka was knocked out of Roland Garros, 12 months after controversially quitting the tournament.

The error-plagued Japanese star served up eight double faults and committed 29 unforced errors against Anisimova.

In 2021, Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros when she refused to honour mandatory media commitments before revealing she had been suffering from depression.

Osaka, who was number two in the world at the time, was fined and threatened with a Grand Slam ban for her opposition to news conferences which she likened to "kicking people when they're down".

Now ranked 38, Osaka arrived in Paris having played just two matches on clay this season.

"In my head I was going to do great here and great in Madrid and Rome. I think that's like the fun part about life, there are so many unexpected things," she said.

On a cold, damp day on Court Suzanne Lenglen, there were four breaks of serve in the first six games.

Osaka, who has never made it past the third round in Paris, led briefly for 5-4 but was broken for the third time in the 11th game on the back of her fourth double fault.

Anisimova, the 27th seed who ended Osaka's Australian Open title defence in January, served it out to love as the Japanese star was left to rue her 17 unforced errors in the opener.

Osaka, with her left ankle taped to protect an injury which forced her to sit out of the Italian Open, was broken again in the seventh game of the second set.

Anisimova, who made the semi-finals in 2019, secured victory on a third match point with a sharp backhand down the line.

"It's tough to see Naomi Osaka in the first round so I knew it wouldn't be easy," said Anisimova.

"I knew I had to play my best tennis and the conditions were not easy."


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