Naomi Osaka to represent Japan at 2020 Olympics, give up American citizenship

Naomi Osaka is giving up her American citizenship and will compete for Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka is giving up her American citizenship and will compete for Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka, the No, 3 ranked female tennis player in the world, has decided she will represent Japan in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and give up her American citizenship.

According to CNN, Osaka spoke with Japanese public broadcaster NHK about her decision, telling them that it gives her "a special feeling to try to go to the Olympics to represent Japan."

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"I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country," she continued.

Osaka was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, and raised in the United States. She currently has dual citizenship with the US and Japan, but Japanese law requires that she choose one or the other by her 22nd birthday. Since Osaka’s 22nd birthday is on Oct. 16, she has to make a choice — and she’s choosing Japan.

Osaka currently resides in the US, and it’s unclear if her citizenship decision will change where she lives or trains.

In August, Osaka was eliminated at the US Open in the Round of 16, a disappointing result that knocked her from the No. 1 ranking down to 4. But since that early round elimination, she has seen nothing but success. She won the Pan Pacific Open in Osaka, Japan, in mid-September, and beat world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the final of the China Open last week.

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