Women’s Sports: Naomi Osaka chooses to represent Japan at 2020 Olympics

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When the current world number 3 graces the Olympic court in Tokyo 2020, Naomi Osaka has announced that she will fly the flag of her birth country Japan.

The tennis star revealed that she intends to finalise her Japanese citizenship to play for the host country next year. 

Osaka currently holds dual nationality with both Japan and the United States, however, the Japanese law obliges that once an individual turns 22, they must settle for one country to hold their citizenship in. Osaka will turn 22 on Wednesday.

Born in Osaka to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, Osaka told Japanese broadcaster NHK, of her desire to represent Japan. As a result, she has started the process of choosing Japanese citizenship, adding that, “there’s no other place I’d rather play for my first Olympics.”

Given Osaka already represents Japan on the WTA Tour and in the Fed Cup, the news comes as no surprise. However, to be eligible to compete for the hosts at the Olympic Games, the Japan Tennis Association expressed that Osaka will have to play for Japan in one more national team competition organised by the International Tennis Federation.

Last year, Osaka outclassed Serena Williams at the U.S. Open to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, creating a household name for herself in Japan. Most recently, Osaka defeated world number one, Ashley Barty in the final at the China Open in Beijing.

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