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After lighting cauldron, Naomi Osaka's Olympic debut pushed back one day

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Naomi Osaka's Olympic debut will have to wait a little longer, but that's what happens when you're given the honor of starting the Olympics before the entire world.

Representing Japan, Osaka was scheduled to begin play on Saturday, July 24 against China's Zheng Saisai. The match was slated for the venue's center court. 

However, at the request of Tokyo 2020 organizers, the match will be pushed back a day to July 25, according to NBC Sports. Osaka lit the cauldron to begin the Games, a surprise honoree but a worthy one.

Osaka, the world No. 2 player, is coming into the Olympics under a spotlight. Not only is she representing the host country, this marks her first tournament since withdrawing from the French Open in May for mental health reasons. Osaka drew condemnation from tennis authorities, but support from many other quarters of the sports world, for declining to do post-match interviews in order to protect her mental health. 

More recently, Osaka was the subject of a Netflix documentary that delved into her background, her cultural identity, and her growing career. 

Osaka is the favorite to win gold in Tokyo at +300, according to BetMGM, ahead of top-seeded Ashleigh Barty (+500). 

Naomi Osaka in action in Tokyo. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka in action in Tokyo. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Anti-Olympics protest slideshow embed
Anti-Olympics protest slideshow embed

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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