Category Archives: Tennis

Osaka wants to represent Japan at Tokyo Games

Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says she plans to represent Japan at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Osaka, who has a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, told NHK she has concluded an administrative step to obtain Japanese citizenship ahead of her birthday next week.

Japanese law stipulates that a Japanese with more than one nationality must choose one before turning 22 years old.

“It gives me a special feeling to try to go to the Olympics to represent Japan,” the two-time Grand Slam champion told the broadcaster in an interview in Tokyo.

“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 article published in Japanese on the NHK website.

Osaka added she wants to aim for the gold although she is also worried as hopes will be high.

The young tennis sensation is a household name in Japan, where her every move is followed feverishly by local media, particularly when she is in the country of her mother’s birth.

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She is the face of several leading Japanese brands, including the carrier ANA, and she was the main attraction at last month’s Pan Pacific Open in Osaka, which she won.

But she has faced polemics over her dual heritage in a nation that is fairly racially homogeneous, as well as scrutiny for her imperfect Japanese language skills — though others insist they add to her charm.

Multiracial children can often face prejudice in Japan, although attitudes among younger generations are changing.

Osaka became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam last year after beating Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. She turns 22 on Wednesday. Under Japanese law, that’s the age at which she must give up any dual citizenship.

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Nadal out of Shangahai Masters with hand injury

The ATP said Friday that Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s Shanghai Masters due to a left hand injury.

Nadal is a two-time finalist in Shanghai — 2009 and 2017 — and was looking to extend an 11-match winning streak. He pulled out of his final match at the Laver Cup with a left wrist injury two weeks ago.

He has also won 28 of his last 29 matches, a run that contains his fourth U.S. Open title and 12th Roland Garros championship in addition to Masters 1000 crowns in Montreal and Rome.

Defending Shanghai champion Novak Djokovic will have a chance to close the gap on Nadal in the battle to finish as the year-end No. 1.

Djokovic trails Nadal by 1,960 points in the ATP Race to London. Djokovic could earn 500 points if he wins the Tokyo title this weekend and another 1,000 points by winning Shanghai.

Nadal said on shanghairolexmasters.com: ‘I am very sad to announce that I won’t be able to play in Shanghai this year.

‘As you all probably know, I had an inflammation on my left wrist during the Laver Cup and I haven’t had the time to recover and practice to be ready for this amazing event.  ‘I hope to be back in Shanghai for the 2020 tournament.’

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The injury is in many ways timely given Nadal’s wedding to his long-time girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello is later this month.

And at the time he said: ““It is not my wrist by the way, it is my hand.

“My hand is a little bit inflamed. After New York I had a little bit of an issue probably after the final.

“I felt a little bit, the first day here, then a little bit more every day.”

However it is not all doom and gloom for the Spaniard as he can still return to the top of the world rankings next week.

Nadal is 640 points behind Djokovic in the standings but the world No 1 is the defending champion in Shanghai.

That means the Serbian needs to win the title again to retain 1000 points so an early loss could see him drop to second.

He is scheduled to return to action at the Paris Masters beginning on October 28.

The Spaniard has never won the Shanghai Masters but reached the final twice, in 2009 and 2017. 

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