With the 2020 Olympics fast approaching next year, tennis players are looking forward to playing at the games. With the games in Tokyo, Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka have expressed their desire to do well in their country. The Japanese stars will be major attractions for local fans. They have toyed with the idea of playing mixed doubles at the event.
Osaka chooses Japan
Osaka has risen to the top of the women’s game in the last two years. The 21-year-old was born in the city of Osaka, Japan. Her family moved to the United States when she was three years old. Despite growing up in America, the former world number one decided to represent Japan. She was a citizen of both countries. She has, however, relinquished her citizenship to the United States ahead of the Olympic Games next year. Osaka had insisted that she would represent her country of birth at the games. The former world number one has now made good on her promise. She was required to choose her citizenship by her 22nd birthday.
Practice for doubles
She will be hoping to collaborate with compatriot Kei Nishikori at the games. Osaka has expressed interest in playing mixed doubles with Nishikori. She has said she will need to practices on her doubles skills to ensure they are competitive in Tokyo. The two-time Grand Slam champion has a poor record in doubles matches. She said she would be disappointed if they played in their country and went out in the first round. “You cannot play mixed doubles with Kei Nishikori and lose in the first round of the Olympics in Tokyo. I would actually cry for losing a doubles match.”
Nishikori has said he will have a talk with the 21-year-old about the possibility of playing together at the games. He has confirmed that he will play in the men’s doubles matches. However, considering the heat in the summer, Nishikori said he doubted if he would play in singles matches. The 29-year-old is currently recovering from an elbow injury. He has missed the Asian swing of the ATP tour. He also pulled out of a planned exhibition match with Roger Federer. Nishikori is eighth in the rankings. Osaka has played well in Asia. She won the Toray Pacific Open in Japan last month. Last week, she won the China Open in Beijing. Osaka has also qualified for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen
Naomi Osaka’s ranking and performance in 2019
Ranked no.3, Naomi played her last match on the 6th of October when she beat Ashleigh Barty 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final in Beijing to win her 4th career title.
This year Osaka has a 39-11 win-loss record. The Japanese conquered 3 titles in 2019 at the Australian Open, in Osaka and in Beijing.
Kei Nishikori’s ranking and performance in 2019
Ranked no.8, Kei played his last match on the 30th of August when he lost to Alex De Minaur 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-3 in the 3rd round in U.S. Open.
This year Kei has a 29-14 win-loss record. Nishikori conquered 1 title in Brisbane.
Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori
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