Naomi Osaka has announced that she intends to represent Japan at the next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Though the two-time Grand Slam champion carries the flag of Japan besides her name on the WTA Tour, Naomi Osaka is a dual citizen of Japan and the United States. She turned 22 years old the earlier this month, which – according to Japanese law – is the age at which people with dual nationality have to select one. Therefore, she decided to give up her U.S. citizenship and represent Japan.
The 21-year-old was born in Japan to a Japanese mother, named Tamaki Osaka; and a Haitian father named Leonard François. She lived there until she was 3 years old.
Although she has spent the majority of her life in the US, Osaka has an emotional connection to her birth country. And with the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics approaching, this is her opportunity to represent her country in the greatest way, in front of her home crowd.
The former world No. 1 has already made national history after defeating Serena Williams in the 2018 US Open final and becoming the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title. And now, she has opened a new opportunity to write more history and become the first Japanese tennis player to win a gold medal in Olympic tennis.
After claiming her second major earlier this year, Osaka wasn’t able to maintain the same level of play that saw her win 2 major championships. She fell early at Roland Garros and then suffered a first-round loss at Wimbledon. It almost seemed that the pressure of expectations overwhelmed her on the court.
However, Osaka, now back at No. 3 in the rankings, is turning things around. She is on a 10-match winning streak after earning titles at the China Open and the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Osaka currently trains and resides in Boca Raton, FL.