Naomi Osaka is known for various firsts, and this history-maker is making a huge statement with her latest move.
The tennis star who has dual citizenship in the United States of America and Japan has opted out of her American citizenship to represent her mother’s native land of Japan. The 21-year-old who was born in Osaka, Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian father surprised many with her most recent decision.
Currently ranking 3rd in the international rankings, this highly successful player spoke pointing out the decision was a no-brainer. Speaking to Japanese media she said, “It’s definitely going to be very special. I think there’s no other place that I’d rather play my first Olympics.” Osaka told the outlet “I think that will be one of the most memorable things that ever happens to me.”
NBC news confirms that under a 1985 Japanese law, dual citizens are required to make a “declaration of choice,” renouncing one of their citizenships before their 22nd birthday, which Osaka herself will be celebrating next week.
Naomi Osaka stepped into the limelight after her win over tennis legend Serena Williams in September 2018. Her popularity skyrocketed, after being ranked 68th worldwide before her momentous match against Serena. According to a report on The Sauce, her match with Serena was a big deal for the talented player. Representing Japan, Osaka’s semifinal with Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine would be the first time a Japanese would be at semis since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996.
More recently, Osaka represented Japan this past Sunday (14.10.2019) in the China Open winning the final against world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty.