Tagged in: Osaka

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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Osaka goes on 10-game run to reach quarters will face Andreescu

Naomi Osaka said Thursday that she was “angry relaxed” after the Japanese tennis player set up a potential first meeting with US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in Beijing.

The 21-year-old, the reigning Australian Open champion, won the last 10 games against unseeded American Alison Riske to surge into the last eight at the China Open, 6-4, 6-0.

Osaka and Andreescu, two young stars of women’s tennis, will meet if the 19-year-old Canadian wins her match later Thursday against American qualifier Jennifer Brady.

Osaka has not dropped a set in three matches in the Chinese capital and also did not lose a set on the way to winning her home Pan Pacific Open last month.

The two-time Grand Slam champion from Japan served seven aces and stretched her winning streak to seven matches.

It is in contrast to the stuttering form the world number four endured after winning the Australian Open at the start of the year.

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“I’m relaxed, but I’m a little bit angry, it’s an angry relaxed,” said Osaka, asked what was behind her recent success in Japan and now China.

“I know after Australia I was like, ‘I’m going to have fun’. It was not fun, I did not have fun.”

The Japanese said she took a week off after her last 16 defeat at the US Open, where teenager Andreescu went on to triumph over Serena Williams in the final.

“I was sorting out my thoughts,” said Osaka, adding that she has “self-diagnosed ADHD” because “if I tell myself to relax, I play three-set matches.

“Out here, if you see, I’m kind of ‘angry’ right now, I can get through straight-set wins.”

Osaka called Andreescu “an amazing player.” “I feel like she’s doing better than I was last year, so it’s all cool,” Osaka said. “I have to learn from her too.”

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