Naomi Osaka, arguably the best women’s tennis player in the world, was all set to represent Japan when the 2020 Olympics kicked off in Tokyo this summer. Now she’s among those praising the decision to postpone the Games until next year.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge the sports world in unprecedented ways, Osaka published an Instagram post detailing her feelings on recent events.
“I’ve been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now, so here goes,” Osaka wrote. “Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country. Of course I am disappointed that it won’t happen this year, but we’ll all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021.”
Osaka, who was raised in New York by a Japanese mother and Haitian father, decided to give up her American citizenship to represent Japan in 2020.
Now that’s on pause, but it hasn’t made the tennis champ any less proud of the decisions that brought her to this point.
“I support Prime Minister Abe’s brave decision and the IOC 100%.”Osaka continued. “Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now. This is the time for people from all countries, background and races to rally together to save as many lives as we can. To me, that is the Olympic spirit. To the people of Japan: stay strong, hang in there and let’s show the world our beautiful country when the time is right in 2021. Stay safe everyone, take care of each other, be kind and we will make it through.”
The 22-year-old star is currently ranked No. 10 in the world with a career record of 222-132 to go with wins at both the US Open (2018) and Australian Open (2019).