Tokyo Olympics memes: Snoop’s hilarious horse commentary, diver’s relatable flop

Rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Kevin Hart are offering uncensored Olympics commentary on NBC’s Peacock network, and it’s a win.

Rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Kevin Hart are offering uncensored Olympics commentary on NBC’s Peacock network, and they were especially entertained by a horse doing some fancy sideways walking in an equestrian event. (Note: Plenty of swearing ahead.)

“Horses. I like this,” declared Snoop. “This is equestrian… Oh, the horse crip-walking, cuh! You see that? On the set! That’s gangsta as a motherf—–!”

(Crip-walking is a dance move popularized in Compton, California, and associated with the Crips street gang.)

“Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart commenting on the Olympics is the best content NBC Peacock has put out yet,” wrote one Twitter user.

Canadian diver Pamela Ware messed up her dive at the last minute, ending up jumping feet-first and receiving a score of 0. Viewers understood that she had to bail out of the dive to avoid injury, but there was still a sense that here, finally, was a relatable athletic move.

“One of the few times in the Olympics where I have thought ‘Well I could do THAAT,'” wrote one Twitter user.

Ware posted an emotional video on Instagram thanking those who supported and encouraged her after her failed dive.

“My dream is still very much alive!” she wrote in the post’s caption. “This competition will NOT defeat me. This will only make me 10x stronger!”

British gold-medal Tom Daley knits and crochets, even making a little knitted case for his gold medal.

And fans loved it when Daley was spotted knitting away while sitting in the stands watching other athletes compete.

“Nothing to see here – just @TomDaley1994 having a knit at the diving,” tweeted Team GB, the British Olympic team, from its official Twitter account.

“When you gotta win a gold medal at 7, but finish your niece’s hat by 8,” wrote another Twitter user.

Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus won gold, beating legendary American Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle. But it was Titmus’ coach, Dean Boxall, who made the meme list. When Titmus won, Boxall tore off his face mark, screamed and, uh, mimed intimacy with a guardrail. You do you, coach.

Even NBC Sports’ official Twitter account got in on the joke, tweeting, “THAT’S MY SONG, TURN IT UP” with a video of Boxall’s reaction.

And some people felt sorry for the poor Olympics staffer seen in the background, writing, “Thoughts & prayers to the woman trying to keep Ariarne Titmus’s coach from falling over the barrier during his celebration.”

Skateboarding made its Olympics debut, and Peruvian skateboarder Angelo Caro Narvaez took an early fall, landing groin-first into a rail. No medal, but lots of sympathy.

“And he made it to the finals after doing this in the prelims,” one Twitter user wrote. “I would not have made it to the finals after doing that in the prelims, I’ll tell you that. I would have made it to the hospital.”

The US basketball team is packed with pros but still lost to France, 83-76, snapping a 25-game win streak that it had kept rolling since 2004. And while it might not seem fair to make fun of amateur athletes, all bets are off when it comes to poking fun at the professionals.

Wrote one Twitter user, “American teams win an NBA championship and call themselves World Champions until they actually have to play against the world.”

But as one Twitter user pointed out, it wasn’t as if only the US used pro players, tweeting, “You realize these dudes on the other teams are NBA players too, right?”

The memes will keep on medaling; the Olympics run through Aug. 8.

The Staples Center will be renamed Crypto.com Arena

Crypto continues to elbow its way into major-league sponsorships.

With just 16% of the US population using or investing in cryptocurrency, the name change may come as a shock to many sports fans — and players. When Clippers point guard Reggie Jackson was told of the change, he responded, “What?”

But this name change is only the most recent example of a cryptocurrency exchange launching the type of high-profile promotional effort previously undertaken by traditional financial services and Fortune 500 corporations. The Miami Heat now play in FTX Arena, named for another crypto exchange (that is also the official cryptocurrency exchange of Major League Baseball). And FTX has purchased ad time during the upcoming Super Bowl.

The new logo for the Crypto.com Arena will debut on Christmas Day this year, when the Lakers face off against the Brooklyn Nets. The arena’s signage is scheduled to be completely replaced with the new name by June 2022.

CDC eases travel restriction on Japan and other countries ahead of the Olympics

The agency says people should be fully vaccinated before traveling.

The CDC’s Level 4 risk assessment advises against all travel to a country and recommends being vaccinated if you must go there. Level 3 is more forgiving. The risk is still high, but the CDC doesn’t strictly recommend against it for vaccinated people.

The State Department has updated its travel recommendations to match.

US Open 2021: How to watch today’s Djokovic-Medvedev match without cable

You can watch Novak Djokovic try to cement his legacy when he plays Daniil Medvedev in the men’s final on Sunday, no cable subscription required.

The US Open Men’s Final is set to start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET) on Sunday on ESPN.

When he plays Daniil Medvedev in the US Open Men’s Final today, Novak Djokovic will attempt to become the first men’s player since 1969 to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single calendar year.

Here’s everything you need to know to watch all the tennis live without a cable subscription.

The championship match will be broadcast live on ESPN. You can livestream the match on WatchESPN.com or via the ESPN app, but you will need to prove you have a TV subscription that includes ESPN. If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can use a live-TV streaming service to watch the matches live; all the services listed here offer ESPN.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Orange package includes ESPN.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes ESPN.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu plus Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ESPN.

Read our Hulu plus Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes ESPN.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV Now’s basic $70-a-month package includes ESPN.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

Jake Paul beats Tyron Woodley in split decision: Round-to-round fight coverage

Is the rematch on?

Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley is live!

See below for our round-by-round coverage of the fight.

Jake Paul at the press conference earlier this week.

And we’re off. Woodley swings wild to open. Is now trying to walk Paul down, but the size difference is noticeable. Paul is trying to lead with the jab and is doing so effectively. Woodley seems a little frozen and struggling with the range. Paul on the other hand is getting comfy in there.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Paul lands with a big right to open, but Woodley is trying to cut him off. Paul is not having it. Low activity round so far and Woodley is biting too hard on the feints. Not much happening here and Woodley is down another round.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Already a better round for Woodley but Paul comes back. Woodley is trying to get inside and gets countered for it. Paul is looking good so far, this could be a long night for Woodley.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Paul’s punches looking a little less discipled now. Tyron seems like he can get inside better now and is landing the better shots.

Woodley lands a big shot and Paul is rocked. He almost goes down and desperately tries to recover. He makes it out of the round but man… Now we have a fight!

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Paul looks very tired now and this could be a big problem because Woodley is just getting started. This could be an interesting final three rounds. Woodley should be pressing but he’s slowing down here. Still, this is Woodley’s round.

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Paul seems to have regained a bit of steam here, landing shots on Woodley and getting his combinations going. Woodley has slowed down and seems to be chasing a one shot kill. This is anyone’s round to steal, but in the end it looks like Paul took it.

Our score: 10-9 Paul

Woodley’s corner is urgent. It appears they know they need a KO at this point. He comes out more aggressive but it doesn’t take much to put him back in his shell. But Paul’s punches are sloppy and surely Woodley could counter here. 

Paul looks tired but Woodley simply isn’t doing enough here.

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Final round and surely Woodley needs a stoppage here. He comes out with some tight offence and lands some shorts, but it’s not enough. Paul can easily cruise to a victory here. Woodley is pot-shotting now when he really needs something definitive. 

In the end he wins the round on my scorecard, but he has almost certainly lost the fight.

Our score: 10-9 Woodley

Jake Paul wins by split decision

Amanda Serrano, one of the pound-for-pound best female boxers on the planet.

Our co-main event is the sole women’s fight on the card.

Amanda Serrano, the champion, is the overwhelming favourite in this contest. Yamileth Mercado hasn’t been given much of a chance by oddsmakers here, but this is boxing and anything can happen.

But Serrano is one of the best female boxers ever. She hasn’t lost in over 10 years and I can’t imagine her losing here.

Okay here we go. This could be a real showcase for Serrano. Can’t wait to see what she can do in this spotlight.

Serrano comes out super aggressive, huge volume early. But she gets a little stung by a great shot from Mercado. Doesn’t appear to phase her though. Quite a tight round all up.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Mercado isn’t exactly out of her depth in this fight, but she is losing. Serrano is marching forward and landing heavy shots, Mercado is landing a few here and there, but Serrano takes the round.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Fantastic exchanges here with Mercado and Serrano trading blows. Mercado has a chin on her, but she’s also landing here. This fight is being fought at a tremendous pace.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is slowing the pace down here and pot shotting her jab a little more. She’s managed to catch Mercado coming in a few times. Nice round from Serrano, but Mercado maybe stole the round at the end there with a flurry.

Our score: 10-9 Mercado

These rounds are rattling in, with the two minute rounds. Mercado has earned Serrano’s respect. Serrano isn’t just running in for knockout shots, she’s trying to out-box Mercado and it’s working. Great shots at the end of the round there.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano boxing well from the outside, but Mercado landed one helluva body shot. In fact both women are landing to the body frequently. Serrano is really finding her range here and looked to have hurt Mercado at one point.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is looking really sharp now. Completely taking over the fight with her jab. This feels like Serrano’s most comfortable round.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Mercado is making this more of a dogfight, digging some real body shots at close range. This is a different type of fight. A much closer round, but Serrano still takes it.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Mercado is hanging in here. She’s done a great job in this fight. But Serrano is walking Mercado down now, landing huge body shots. She’s teeing off on Mercado now. Serrano’s best round yet.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Last round. Both fighters appear keen to leave it all on the canvas here. Serrano stings Mercado badly and she looks hurt. Mercando is hanging on by a thread here it seems but she survives. Great finish to a great fight.

Our score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano wins 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 via unanimous decision.

The up-and-coming heavyweight Daniel Dubois.

This is a heavyweight fight between two well tested fighters with solid record. Daniel Dubois is the current WBA interim heavyweight champ. His only loss came at the hands of Joe Joyce last year. Joe Cusumano is a more experienced fighter. At 33 he’s 10 years the senior of the 23 year old Dubois.

These are some big boys. 

Blam! Cusumano goes down early after a series of hard shots from Dubois. He’s back up and ooft, they’re swinging. Cusumano goes down again, then for a THIRD time and it’s all over in round 1. 

Damn, this Dubois guy can hit. That was a wild, wild round of boxing.

Daniel Dubois win via TKO in the first round.

Ivan Baranchyk during an open workout.

This should be a good one. A well matched fight between two up-and-comers. Baranchyk is ranked the fourth best active light-welterweight in the world by The Ring, Love is still undefeated. This should be a high level scrap.

Baranchyk is the aggressor early feinting Love to the ropes with jabs, but Love lands with a straight down the pipe. Love started to loosen up in the second half of the round with slick defence and sharp shots. Baranchyk landed heavy in the last 30 seconds. 

Tough one to call.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Baranchyk come out more aggressive in the opening seconds, but Love is landing. A couple of nice body shots and a great uppercut. Also the check hook is money for Love, he’s landing it over and over. He’s taking over this fight.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Again Baranchyk comes out with urgency, but he’s missing big against Love. Just great footwork. He has gotten caught a couple of time though. 

And whoa… Baranchyk unloads. He’s stunned Love but he manages to stay on his feet. Baranchyk is going hard now, this is clearly his round. Huge moment. Massive flurry at the end there and Love catches Baranchyk clean with a wild hook that almost floors him. Wow. What a round.

Our score: 10-9 Baranchyk

Baranchyk is just clipping Love now. The shots Love was evading now seem more dangerous. Love is standing his ground more now, though and is outlanding Baranchyk. Great round for Love who appears to stun Baranchyk and then pauses to admire the shot.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Love’s check hook can’t miss at this point. His counters are sharp and Baranchyk is struggling. He’s still marching forward though — this is a great fight.

Just when Love seemed to be landing at will, Baranchyk landed clean and hard. Man this fight rules.

Our score: 10-9 Love

A much quieter round in the first minute. Love getting the best of the exchanges so far, with guard splitting straights. Love appears to have recovered just fine from that big shot at the end of the fifth round.

Our score: 10-9 Love

Love smells blood here, he’s marching forward for the first time in the fight, wailing on Baranchyk. Love is just too slick for Baranchyk, whose punches have lost a bit of sting. Baranchyk misses a massive shot and falls over. He needs a knockout now you suspect.

Whoa, an incredible counter shot sends Baranchyk to the floor right at the end of the round. Incredibly clean shot.

Our score: 10-8 Love

And Baranchyk’s corner waves it off. The fight is over. Montana Love takes it by TKO.

Yes, he’s related to Tyson Fury.

Tommy Fury is the brother of current heavyweight king Tyson Fury. He’s a lot younger, a lot more handsome and he’s currently unbeaten with six wins. Anthony Taylor’s record isn’t quite as inspiring with seven wins and five losses… in MMA. Also this fight was changed from a six round contest to a four round fight at the last minute.

Let’s see how this one plays out. Many are saying Fury is next for Jake Paul if he gets past Tyron Woodley and he’s a dramatic, overwhelming favourite for this one.

Man, the height and size difference here is pretty intense. Fury looks like he’s getting quite the layup here. 

Fury is leading with a sharp jab and quickly lands heavy to the body. Taylor walked into a sharp uppercut and is slowly starting to get lit up here. The uppercut seems like a good shot for Fury and Taylor is swinging wild.

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Well the predicted round 1 KO didn’t happen.

Fury is landing with sharp punches, but the old MMA style overhand right is there for Taylor, who is getting outworked here. He’s running out steam and energy. He survives the 2nd round, but hard to imagine him surviving this fight.

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Taylor is spirited here and comes out aggressive. He slips early, but it’s not ruled a knockdown. Fury is going hard to the body here, which is smart because he’s struggling to find the head. This is probably Taylor’s best round but he’s still getting pieced up here. 

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Well, maybe this will go the distance!

If Fury doesn’t get the knockout here, or at the very least a knockdown, it’s not a good look for him. He lands a few big shots, but Taylor clinches and survives. 

Taylor makes it to the bell as the crowd boos.

Our score: 10-9 Fury

Fury wins by decision 40-36 on all scorecards

UFC 267 Blachowicz vs. Teixeira: Start time, how to watch or stream online

What UFC 267 lacks in star power, it makes up in compelling fights.

We last saw Blachowicz when he retained his title against Israel Adesanya.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira sits atop this card and while it’s almost strange to see Teixeira in a light heavyweight title fight, there’s little doubt he deserves his shot. Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen is for the interim UFC bantamweight crown and is, for my money, a guaranteed banger of a contest. Two great strikers with phenomenal chins facing off against one another — absolutely can’t wait.

But almost every fight here is worth your while. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege Islam Makhachev takes on Dan Hooker and we have the long awaited return of rising star Khamzat Chimaev.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Be careful with this one! The times are very different compared to most UFC PPV events.

The UFC 267 main card starts at 2 p.m EDT (11 a.m. PDT) on Oct 30. Here are all the details from multiple timezones…

The UFC now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 267, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 267 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 267 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Like all UFC fight cards this is subject to change. We also expect they’ll split this into “Early Prelims” and “Prelims” at some point down the line.

Field of Dreams game: Watch Kevin Costner’s spine-tingling intro speech

They built it and Costner came out of the corn for real at this memorable MLB baseball game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Kevin Costner on the Field of Dreams at the first MLB game in Iowa, August 2021.

Inspired by the 1989 movie, Major League Baseball built a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark at the farm in Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed. The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox played a real professional MLB game Thursday.

So who won? Under the beautiful Iowa night sky, Tim Anderson capped the ninth inning by smashing one of the game’s several home runs into the cornfield, winning the game 9-8 for the White Sox.

The game was postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the event and its opening ceremony had an extra poignancy as an opportunity for 7,832 people to gather and enjoy the simple pleasure of a ballgame.

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox emerge from the corn onto the Field of Dreams.

Written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson and based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams starred Costner as a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond. The cornfield-ballfield attracts the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

The MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022, although the current disruption caused by the delta variant is a stark warning that the pandemic is far from over.

Preakness Stakes 2021: Post time, TV schedule, how to watch horse racing without cable

You don’t need cable to watch the second leg of the Triple Crown today on NBC.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes takes place later today and will be broadcast on NBC. Here’s how you can watch live without cable.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will attempt to capture the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

The Preakness Stakes takes place today, Saturday, May 15. TV coverage starts at 5 p.m. ET on NBC. Post time is set for 6:50 p.m. ET (3:50 p.m. PT).

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station. You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials and offer NBC. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area.

Shandful of marketsling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren is now live: Main event start time, how to watch and full fight card

The Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren event has begun. Here’s what to know…

Jake Paul after defeating Nate Robinson.

Jake Paul and Ben Askren are fighting eight rounds at Cruiserweight. That means both fighters can’t weigh anything over 200 pounds. Considering Askren fought at 170 during his MMA run and 174 as a collegiate wrestler, you can expect him to be massively under that limit. Jake Paul weighed in at 189 pounds for his last boxing match.

According to the Triller page, the main event will start around 9 p.m. ET on April 17. That’s 6 p.m. PT. The main event will start around 8.30 pm PT/11.30 ET

Viewers in the UK will have to stay up till 2 a.m. on April 18 to watch the fight. If you’re tuning in from Australia, the fight takes place at 11 a.m. on April 18.

Jake Paul is the brother of Logan Paul. Both are YouTube online personalities with sizable followings across almost every social media platform. They initially gained popularity on now-defunct video platform Vine and Jake Paul starred in Bizaardvark, a show on the Disney Channel.

As of late both Paul brothers have become well-known for boxing, bizarrely. Logan Paul boxed fellow YouTuber KSI to a draw in a ludicrously high-profile amateur boxing match in August 2018. Jake Paul fought KSI’s brother Deji Olatunji on the undercard.

After the bout, Jake Paul continued boxing and has fought professionally twice, most recently knocking out former NBA star Nate Robinson on the undercard of Mike Tyson’s recent comeback against Roy Jones Jr.

Since that contest, Jake Paul has been going back and forth with multiple MMA fighters, including Conor McGregor and his training partner Dillon Danis, but ultimately he’s set up a boxing match against retired UFC fighter Ben Askren.

Ben Askren is probably most famous for being violently KO’d by UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal in five seconds, but before that he was an undefeated fighter and considered among the most effective wrestlers in MMA.

After an incredibly successful amateur wrestling career Askren became a world champion in two organisations, Bellator and One FC. He made a UFC run at the end of his career, but by then was carrying a number of chronic long term injuries. He ultimately retired as a result of those injuries.

The weigh-ins have taken place and were quite surprising.

Despite fighting at 170 pounds during his MMA career, Ben Askren came in at 191.5 pounds. Jake Paul weighed 191 pounds flat. You can watch the full weigh-ins here.

The short story is, Ben Askren didn’t look like he was in good shape, but even at 170 he didn’t exactly look shredded.

What can we read into that? Probably not much. Askren probably wanted to come in heavier because Paul is naturally the bigger fighter of the two.

That one is pretty straightforward. You can purchase the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren PPV event on Triller Fight Club for US$49.99.

If you’re outside the US, or if you have trouble accessing a local version of the fight, you can opt to use a VPN to access the Fite.tv/Triller feed listed above via a US-based IP address.

Read more: The best VPNs right now, as chosen by CNET editors

Oddsmakers have Paul listed as -225 better favorite, with Askren at +175.

This makes perfect sense. While this fight is an unknown quantity, Askren was never considered a good striker in MMA. His whole game was set up around his grinding wrestling and brutal ground and pound strikes. When the fight remains standing, Askren tends to look sluggish and limited. Jake Paul, whilst inexperienced, has more professional boxing experience than Askren and hasn’t lost a boxing match yet.

That being said, Askren is a former professional fighter with a 19-2 record and wins against world class competition. Jake Paul is 2-0 against less experienced opposition.

Triller held a Conor McGregor-esque press conference a few weeks ago, allowing Jake Paul and Ben Askren to go at each other.

It ended up in a comical staredown where Askren sort of casually palmed Paul’s face and Paul responded by throwing the weirdest pulled punch I’ve ever seen.

Solid preview for how this fight is going to play out? Possibly.

The full fight card is as follows…

Outside of boxing, the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren event is expected to feature multiple performances by legitimate A-listers.

Justin Bieber, Diplo, The Black Keys, Doja Cat and Major Lazer are all expected to perform. Mt. Westmore, a new rap group features — get this — Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40, and Too $hort are also scheduled to appear.

Bizarrely, Pete Davidson has been added to the commentary team. During the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. — fight Triller’s last big PPV event — Snoop Dogg’s commentary went a little bit viral. Sounds like Triller is going for the same vibe with this PPV.

Celebrities also confirmed to attend include supermodel Taylor Hill, Mario Lopez and TikTok superstars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio.

Why Naomi Osaka dropped out of Wimbledon: What you need to know

Naomi Osaka intends to return at the Olympics in July.

Osaka has now withdrawn from Wimbledon in addition to the French Open.

Osaka’s current plan is to make a return to professional Tennis is her home country of Japan at the Olympics in July.

“Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision,” Wimbledon reps told CNET in an emailed statement. “We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year.”

Osaka’s withdrawal is the latest in a series that began with controversy at Roland Garros.

After canceling press obligations during the French Open as a result of mental health issues, Osaka — one of the top-ranked women tennis players in the world — was fined $15,000 and threatened with expulsion by tournament organizers. Ultimately, Osaka decided to take matters into her own hands and left the tournament of her own volition.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a statement describing her struggles with depression. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”

After initially criticizing Osaka’s unwillingness to meet the press in person and answer questions after matches (see below), Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, delivered a statement on Osaka’s decision to exit the match — a statement he delivered in French and English before walking out of the media room without taking questions from the press.

“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year,” Moretton said. “We remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the media.”

A stream of support has since come out for Osaka from fans and professional athletes alike. Here’s everything you need to know.

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player and the current world number 2, behind Australian Ash Barty, having won four Grand Slam championships. Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka grew up in the US and won her first Grand Slam — the US Open — aged 20.

Since then she has become a global superstar in the world of tennis, holding the position of number one in 2019 and winning three more Grand Slam tournaments.

Osaka is famously shy and soft spoken, but has regularly pushed past this to use her platform for activism. In 2020 she withdrew from the Cincinnati Open to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. During the 2020 US Open she famously wore a series of masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice to raise awareness during Black Lives Matters protests.

Last week Naomi Osaka posted on her social media accounts, stating she wouldn’t be taking part in press conferences during the French Open, to protect her mental health.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health,” she wrote, “and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”

In response Roland Garros posted a statement on its website and issued a $15,000 fine.

“Following this announcement,” read the statement, “the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.

“Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.”

In the statement, Roland Garros claimed mental health was of the “utmost importance”, but also posted a now-deleted tweet, that made light of Osaka’s mental health concerns.

In response to the fine and the threat of expulsion, Osaka withdrew from the tournament.

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” she wrote. “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.

“The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

Osaka wrote that she was already feeling “vulnerable and anxious” about the French Open and the prospect of having to face the press, that she was exercising “self care” by skipping the conferences. Osaka also claimed she privately wrote to the organizers of the Grand Slam tournaments to apologize.

“I’m going to take some time away from the court now,” she said, “but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”

Observers were quick to note that Moretton’s follow up statement expressing his sadness and support for Osaka seemed disingenuous. “The immense irony of the FFT President not taking questions from the media in the wake of this Osaka withdrawal is not lost on anyone,” wrote journalist Ben Rothenberg, describing Moretton.

In the wake of Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open multiple athletes across different sports came out in support.

Serena Williams, who Osaka famously defeated to win her very first Grand Slam recently commented on the situation.

“I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like,” she said. “I’ve been in those positions

“We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can.”

Venus Williams, had a different response. Speaking out on how she dealt with press conferences — during a press conference.

“[M]e personally, how I cope, how I deal with it, was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” Williams said. “So no matter what you say, or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.”

Tennis legends like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova — alongside athletes like Steph Curry — tweeted messages backing up Osaka.

“Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs,” said Billie Jean King.

“You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this,” said NBA star Steph Curry, “but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own.”

Osaka received support from all corners. Not just for standing up for herself, but for raising awareness of mental health issues.

Calm, an app dedicated to helping with sleep and meditation, is donated $15,000 — the equivalent of Osaka’s initial fine — to Laureus Sport in France, a company that does work in the mental health space.

It’s also offered to the same if any other tennis athletes are fined for taking the same stand in the future.