Naomi Osaka agrees to represent Japan at the 2024 Paris Olympics

Naomi Osaka agrees to represent Japan at the 2024 Paris Olympics

Naomi Osaka

The Japanese tennis association announced on Thursday that Naomi Osaka has agreed to represent Japan at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Naomi Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, is best known for lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and advancing to the third round in singles.

Since then, she has become a mother and resumed her tennis career late last year after a 15-month maternity leave.

READ ALSO : Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz become doubles partners at the Paris Olympics

Currently ranked 125th in the world, the 26-year-old received permission from the International Tennis Federation to compete in Paris through a special ranking given to players returning to the tour, as reported by JTA.

Following her participation for Japan at the Billie Jean King Cup in Tokyo this April, Naomi Osaka expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “I would love to play” in Paris, according to the outlet.

“Growing up watching the Olympics on TV, I felt like it was a celebration of sport,” Osaka said. “I think it brings everyone together and being able to be an athlete there and interact with other athletes is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.”

“And if I play, I have high ambitions for myself and I hope I can do very well and get a medal,” he added.

Naomi Osaka recently secured her first win on grass since 2019 with a 6-2, 6-4 win over fourth seed Elise Mertens at the Libema Open. His last match on this court was a first round defeat at Wimbledon in 2019.

“I consider this my first year on grass,” Osaka said after beating Mertens. “I think even now, this is my first time at this tournament, so in some ways I feel like a beginner again. I’ve been in Europe since April, so this is a big commitment for me. I’m very happy to be able to do this.”

Her most notable achievement so far was reaching the quarterfinals in Qatar, and she capped off her claycourt season by giving reigning champion Iga Swiatek her toughest challenge at the French Open. Osaka’s win over Mertens marked the 23rd match of her career on grass.

“I play better in big rounds against the best players,” Naomi Osaka added. “I think I’ve always been like that and I just need to maintain that level in the smaller events.

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