Tennis star Naomi Osaka has chosen to represent Japan in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Osaka, who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, has held dual citizenship up to the present day. However, Japanese law requires dual citizens who wish to retain their Japanese citizenship to do so by age 22. She turns 22 on Oct. 16.
Despite being raised in the US where she lives and trains, she has represented Japan throughout her tennis career.
The No. 3-ranked women’s tennis player announced her decision to the NHK network in Tokyo after winning the Chinese Open where in the finals, she beat the world’s No. 1 player Ashliegh Bartly, (6-3, 3-6, 6-2). Without the pressure that being No. 1 brings, Osaka is playing more relaxed and hasn’t lost a match in her swing through Asia this Fall.
“I’m kind of looking forward to everything like the opening ceremony,” she told the Olympic Channel. “It’s also a very big honor to even be participating.”
“It’s definitely going to be very special,” Osaka said. “I think there’s no other place that I’d rather play my first Olympics. I think that will be one of the most memorable things that ever happens to me.”
“It gives me a special feeling to try to go to the Olympics to represent Japan,” Osaka told the media in Tokyo. Despite being bi-racial, she is wildly popular in mostly homogenous Japan where she is treated like a celebrity and has signed a number of endorsement contracts for various products. She currently ranks second in endorsement income in 2019, behind only Serena Williams.
“I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country,” she said, according to the NHK website.
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