Tennis star says “playing for the pride of the nation will be a very emotional experience.”

October 16 is Naomi Osaka’s birthday, and this year she had a bigger decision to make than what kind of cake she wants. Osaka, who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian-American father, moved to the U.S. with her family when she was three years old and grew up in the States, and since birth had dual Japanese/U.S. citizenship.

However, Japanese law stipulates that individuals born with dual citizenship must choose one by the age of 22. With Osaka being born in 1997, that meant she had until next Wednesday, and she’s opted to retain her Japanese citizenship.

As a world-class sports professional who competes at venues around the globe, Osaka’s citizenship doesn’t really affect her ability to work and live where she wants. What her decision to choose Japanese citizenry does mean, however, is that she’ll be able to represent Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “It’s a special feeling to be aiming to be a representative of Japan at the Tokyo Olympics. I think playing for the pride of the nation will be a very emotional experience,” Japanese public news organization NHK reports Osaka as saying. “I feel the pressure of the high expectations people have of me, but I hope to stay true to my style of play and compete for the gold medal.”

While Osaka is yet to be officially announced as a member of the Japanese 2020 Olympic team, given her impressive resume (women’s singles champion of the 2018 U.S. Open, 2019 Australian Open, and last month’s Toray Pan Pacific Open) her eventual selection seems to be a foregone conclusion, and while Japan would love to see a gold medal around Osaka’s neck, her sportsmanship and character make her an athlete to be proud of no matter how the Games turn out.

Source: NHK News Web
Top image: Wikipedia/Tm
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