World number three tennis star Naomi Osaka has decided to choose a Japanese citizenship over an American one, as she prepares to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The 21-year-old tennis sensation was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but moved to New York when she was three.
According to Japanese law, those with dual citizenship must select one before turning 22. Osaka’s birthday is coming up, and she will turn 22 Wednesday.
The two-time Grand Slam champion told Japanese public broadcaster NHK that it will be special for her to represent Japan at the Tokyo Games.
“I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country,” she said.
Osaka made her claim to fame in the US Open final last year when she beat Serena Williams, causing a major upset as she won the Grand Slam title.
She also solidified her position with her victory in the Australian Open in January, and she most recently defeated world No.1 Ash Barty in the final of the China Open in Beijing last Sunday.
The tennis star is now set to become one of the biggest sports stars representing Japan. Osaka is already the face of several leading Japanese brands, and although Japan has widely embraced her, she still faces some backlash.
According to reports, Osaka brushed off comments made by Japanese comedians two weeks ago, who said she was “too sunburned” and “needed some bleach.”
Nevertheless, she has reportedly completed an administrative step to obtain Japanese citizenship ahead of her birthday next week.