After months of rumors, it seems that tennis star Naomi Osaka will push through with plans to pursue a Japanese citizenship. According to Japanese public TV station NHK, the move is said to be in preparation for Osaka’s attempt to enter the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Osaka, who is the daughter of Haitian citizen Leonard Francois and Japan-born Tamaki Osaka, currently holds a dual American and Japanese citizenship. The 2018 U.S. Open champ was born in the city of Osaka but she was raised in the United States, where she eventually pursued her dreams of tennis.
However, Japan’s laws require young people to give up their dual citizenship and choose one over the other before they are 22. With Osaka’s 22nd birthday coming up on October 16, it seems that the star has chosen to retain her Japanese citizenship instead.
Naomi representing Japan in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo
It is said that the one of the Japanese player’s motivations for choosing Japan is because of the upcoming Olympics. She said that she feels a “special desire” to make sure that she represents the country that she was born in especially now that the Summer Olympics is returning to Japan for the first time in 50 years. The two-time Grand Slam winner represents Japan in the WTA Tour anyway so it is a normal move for her to do the same in the Olympics.
The fact that Osaka has become a national sensation in Japan could also be part of the things she considered. She is credited for the popularity of tennis in the country right now. But, she has been a divisive figure because of the discrimination that half-Japanese people face.
Back when Osaka was still young, her parents already made the decision for her to represent the Asian country. When asked about the decision, her father noted that she was born and raised in a household that is full of Japanese and Haitian culture.
Naomi’s mother Tamaki
Tamaki, who was born and raised in Japan, did a lot of sacrifices in her life to support her daughter’s career. According to her, she used to wake up at 4 AM to help find funds for the sport that her daughter was passionate about. In a way, she played a crucial role in funding Naomi’s preparations for her tournaments.
Naomi’s father, Leonard Francois from Haiti
On the other hand, Leonard’s Haitian heritage was incredibly visible as she was growing up. Leonard helped train her to become a stronger player. Osaka, however, confessed that he can be quite anxious whenever she plays a game.
Naomi Osaka’s ranking and performance in 2019
Ranked no.3, the Japanese played her last match on the 6th of October when she defeated Ashleigh Barty 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final in Beijing to win her 4th career title.
This year the Japanese has a 39-11 win-loss record. The Japanese has won 3 titles in 2019 at the Australian Open, in Osaka and in Beijing.
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