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Washington (AFP) - Japanese star Naomi Osaka says she's disappointed not to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this year but supports the decision to postpone the event to 2021.
The 22-year-old former world number one said on Twitter Saturday that she thinks the event will be better for moving to next year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now," Osaka wrote.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Olympics after athletes worldwide expressed concern about trying to stage the spectacle amid so much uncertainty.
"Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country. Of course I'm disappointed that it won't happen this year," Osaka said.
"But we'll all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021! I support Prime Minister Abe's brave decision and the IOC 100%."
Osaka, the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open champion, asked the Japanese people to stay strong.
"This is the time for people from all countries, backgrounds and races to rally together to save as many lives as we can," Osaka said.
"To me that's the Olympic spirit."