OLYMPIC GAMES

Is Naomi Osaka playing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

The Japanese tennis player, ranked WTA world No.1, dropped out of several tournaments this year, including Wimbledon and the French Open.

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Is Naomi Osaka playing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

Great news for Naomi Osaka fans. The Japanese tennis player, ranked WTA world No.2, will be back in action next month after taking a break. She will be back in her homeland, competing at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Naomi Osaka steps out of the limelight

The 23-year-old dropped out of the French Open in May after having won her First Round match against Patricia Maria Țig. She was subsequently fined $15,000 and threatened with possible expulsion from the grand slam for skipping obligatory media duties. The four-time grand slam champion had confirmed before Roland Garros that she would not be taking part in post-match news conferences due to issues of anxiety and depression. Earlier this month, her management confirmed that she would not be taking part in Wimbledon this year. She also declined this month’s bett1open tournament in Berlin.

Osaka received waves of support for her decision from fellow tennis greats such as Serena and Venus Williams, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova as well stars from other sports including Stephen Curry, many of whom said that she should be applauded for speaking out. In her native Japan, JTA Executive Director Toshihisa Tsuchihashi said in a statement: “"The first thing to be considered is Ms. Osaka's health. I wish her the earliest possible recovery”.

Naomi Osaka will not be obliged to speak to the media in Tokyo

So it is positive news that Osaka will be returning to action next month, and better still in her home country and with the chance of winning an Olympic gold. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that she will not be forced to attend the media during the two-week summer showpiece. "The IOC has never obliged athletes to hold a press conference, there are no special penalties for not participating " the IOC explained. Osaka may have to pass through the media mixed zone at Ariake Tennis Park but will be under no obligation to stop and talk to journalists.

The Women’s Singles tennis event gets underway on Saturday 24 July at 11:00 hours JST local time (10 pm EST) at the Ariake Tennis Park with the quarter finals on 28 July, the semi-finals on 29 July and the final on centre court on Saturday 31 July.

It would be dream for Osaka, who was born in the city with bears her surname to a Japanese mother (her father is Haitian), to win gold on home soil.