Former World No.1 Naomi Osaka as decided to choose Japanese over American nationality with an eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, public broadcaster NHK reported recently. Osaka, who has a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, told NHK she has completed an administrative step to obtain Japanese citizenship and aims at obtaining it ahead of her birthday next week.
According to Japanese Law, an individual with 2 nationalities must choose one before turning 22. "It gives me a special feeling to try to go to the Olympics to represent Japan," the two-time Grand Slam champion told the broadcaster in an interview in Tokyo.
"I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country," she further added. She also said that she is gunning for gold but is also concerned as expectations will be high being her home tournament.
The young tennis sensation is a household name in Japan, where her every move is followed feverishly by local media, particularly when she is in the country of her mother's birth. She is the face of several leading Japanese brands, including the carrier ANA, which was the main attraction at last month's Pan Pacific Open in Osaka, which she won.
Osaka became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam last year after beating Serena Williams at the US Open and backed it up with her 2nd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open when she took out Petra Kvitova in Melbourne in three pulsating sets.