Naomi Osaka Will Represent Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
“I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country.”
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, Naomi Osaka has officially announced that she will be representing Japan on the court instead of the United States. According to the Olympic Channel, the tennis champion is in the process of finalizing her Japanese citizenship in order to play for the host country next year.
The 21-year-old currently holds dual nationality with both Japan and the U.S., however, the Japanese law states that once an individual turns 22, he or she must settle for one country to hold their citizenship in. Osaka tells NHK: “It’s definitely going to be very special. 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 happen to me.”
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Tamaki Osaka (Naomi’s mother) told the publication that her daughter has wanted to represent Japan at the Olympics for the longest time. “We made the decision that Naomi would represent Japan at an early age,” Tamaki said. “She was born in Osaka and was brought up in a household of Japanese and Haitian culture. Quite simply, Naomi and her sister Mari have always felt Japanese so that was our only rationale. It was never a financially motivated decision nor were we ever swayed either way by any national federation.”
Other than finalizing her citizenship, the two-time Grand Slam winner has to play for Japan at least one International Tennis Federation national team competition before she can represent the country in next year’s Olympics. So stay tuned as we wait for more details.
In other news, did you know that Tokyo 2020’s medals are made out of 100 percent recycled phones?