Naomi Osaka Gunning For Olympic Glory In 2020 - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

WTA

Naomi Osaka Gunning For Olympic Glory In 2020

The former world No.1 outlines her goals for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Published

on

Naomi Osaka (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Already a two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka is aiming to add to her title collection by triumphing at the Olympic Games next year.

 

Osaka, who is the first Asian player in the Open Era to reach world No.1, is hoping to triumph at the games in her home country. Tokyo will host the four-year sporting extravaganza for the first time since 1964. The tennis tournament will take place at the Ariake Tennis Park, which is the venue of the Pan Pacific Open.

21-year-old Osaka is expected to be one of the star attractions for the Japanese audience at the games, whose popularity has soared within the past 18 months. Signing numerous endorsement deals with companies such as All Nippon Airways, Nissan car manufacturer and Nissin Food Group. One survey conducted by Central Research Services Inc found that Osaka’s win over Serena Williams in the US Open final was the most memorable sporting event in the Heisei era. A period covering 1989 until the present day.

“I do think about winning gold and it would mean a lot if I was able to achieve that and win a gold medal because you dream of such moments,” Osaka said during an interview with ITF Magazine.
“When you are a kid you don’t dream of silver or bronze. Even though winning silver or bronze is an incredible achievement, every athlete wants gold and it has always been something that I have imagined.”

Since tennis was reintroduced back into the Olympics in 1988, only one Japanese player has managed to win an Olympic medal. That was Kei Nishikori, who claimed a bronze medal in the men’s singles competition at the 2016 Rio Games. Prior to Nishikori, Japan’s last Olympic triumph in the sport was in 1920.

Speaking about the prospect of winning an Olympic gold medal, Osaka believes it would be the ‘biggest thing she achieved in her career.’ A bold statement from a young player who has already broken numerous milestones for Asian tennis.

“Winning gold would be the biggest thing I would have achieved in my career, although in some ways that is simply because of timing. I contest Grand Slams every year but an Olympic Games is only once every four years so there are not many opportunities to become an Olympic champion.” She explained.
“Everyone who competes at the Olympics wants to be an Olympic champion, so that would be my aim.”

There had been speculation over whether Osaka would continue to represent Japan. She holds both American and Japanese citizenship after growing up in America. Her mother is from Japan and Father is from Haiti. Under Japanese law, a person with dual nationality must choose which Nationality they fully want to be by their 22nd birthday.

Now the speculation is over, Osaka is ready to embrace her first Olympic experience. Growing up, she said one of the Olympians who inspired her was Sprinter Usian Bolt because she ‘just loved watching him dominate.’ Bolt won eight gold medal between 2008-2016.

“Representing Japan at an Olympic Games and winning gold for Japan would mean so much,” said Osaka.
“Technically, I represent Japan at every tournament but I do think the Olympics is going to be different and will be a very big memory for me.
“As I say, winning gold in Tokyo is something that I have dreamed about, but there are also other things about the Olympics which I am looking forward to, such as the Opening Ceremony – the celebrations in the stadium and throughout the country will just be incredible.”

Statistical analysis company Gracenote Sports forecasts that Japan will win 67 medals next year. Their findings are based on athletes results since 2016. According to The Japan Times, Osaka is predicted to win a silver medal

The Olympic Games will get underway on July 24th 2020.

2020 Olympic tennis schedule

Saturday 25 July
Men’s Singles First Round
Women’s Singles First Round
Men’s Doubles First Round
Women’s Doubles First Round
Sunday 26 July
Men’s Singles First Round
Women’s Singles First Round
Men’s Doubles First Round
Women’s Doubles First Round
Monday 27 July
Men’s Singles Second Round
Women’s Singles Second Round
Men’s Doubles Second Round
Women’s Doubles Second Round
Tuesday 28 July
Men’s Singles Second Round
Women’s Singles Third Round
Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals
Women’s Doubles Second Round
Women’s Doubles Quarterfinals
Wednesday 29 July
Men’s Singles Third Round
Women’s Singles Quarterfinals
Men’s Doubles Semifinals
Women’s Doubles Quarterfinals
Mixed Doubles First Round
Thursday 30 July
Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
Women’s Singles Semifinals
Women’s Doubles Semifinals
Mixed Doubles Quarterfinals
Friday 31 July
Men’s Singles Semifinals
Men’s Doubles Gold Medal Match
Men’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match
Mixed Doubles Semifinals
Saturday 1 August
Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match
Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match
Women’s Singles Bronze Medal Match
Women’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match
Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal Match
Sunday 2 August
Men’s Singles Gold Medal Match
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match
Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Latest news

Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

Published

on

BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Four-Time Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka Named In FTX Lawsuit 

The former world No.1 took an equity stake in the failed business earlier this year. 

Published

on

NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka is among a series of high-profile individuals who have been accused of using their celebrity status to promote FTX’s failed business model in a lawsuit filed against the cryptocurrency exchange. 

 

The BBC has reported that over one million people and businesses could be owed money following the collapse of FTX, according to bankruptcy filings. A week ago FTX collapsed into bankruptcy with its former boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO. A massive development in the financial for what was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that had the naming rights to a Formula One racing team as well as a sports arena in Miami.

According to the Associated Press, the company is being investigated by state and federal prosecutors over allegations it ‘invested depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.’ In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, it argues that celebrity backers of FTX such as Osaka should be held just as accountable as Bankman-Fried as they brought ‘instant credibility’ to the company. 

“Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit said.

Osaka took an equity stake in FTX in March where she would be receiving compensation in Crypto. Signing what was described as a ‘long-term partnership’ to become a global ambassador, the tennis star aimed to draw attention to women joining the platform and she played a role in directing its content.

“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets,” Osaka said earlier this year.

Osaka, who has won 14 out of 23 matches played this season, has not made any public statement regarding the lawsuit. NFL quarterback Tom Brady, comedian Larry David and basketball team the Golden State Warriors are also defendants in the lawsuit.

Continue Reading

WTA

WTA Targets New Multi-Year Deal For Its Premier Event If Agreement With China Fails

Will the WTA Finals return to Shenzhen in 2023?

Published

on

WTA CEO Steve Simon

The WTA say they are not willing to compromise their principles concerning the possibility of hosting tournaments in China next year amid uncertainty over the future of their season-ending event. 

 

Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the women’s Tour, says he is hopeful that a resolution can be found with the country but has vowed now to back down on its stance. Last year the WTA suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of former player Peng Shuai who accused a former government official of sexually assaulting her. 

Shuai disappeared shortly after posting her statement on social media before returning a few weeks later with photos and videos of her being posted online by journalists linked to the government-controlled media. There are concerns that the former doubles Grand Slam champion, who has not left her country since making those allegations, is being censored by the government. The WTA wants an investigation to be conducted into the matter. 

“We’ve made a strong stand, and we stand behind that stance, and we’re not going to compromise our principles,” Simon said during an interview with The New York Times. “Clearly when we did it, we understood eyes wide open what it could mean.”
“We’re still in the same place. If they come forward with something else we should look at, of course we are open to it. But we haven’t seen it so far. I’m hopeful we do find a resolution. That’s the goal, to find the right resolution. What’s the truth? Then we can move forward.” He added. 

Simon said he is confident that Shuai is safe in Beijing but he has not been able to make any direct contact with her, despite trying to on multiple occasions. A letter reportedly written by Shuai to the WTA was posted online in 2021 saying that she wishes to be left alone. However, many have doubted the authenticity of that letter with some fearing that she wrote it under duress. 

One of the biggest impacts of the fallout has involved the prestigious WTA Finals, which is a round-robin tournament featuring the eight best-performing players over the past 12 months. In 2018 a lucrative deal was agreed that paved the way for the event to be held in Shenzhen for 10 years. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the next two additions were moved elsewhere.

Whilst the WTA is optimistic about a return to Shenzhen in 2023, there are also backup plans in the works. Simon confirmed that it is no longer feasible for the WTA Finals to be held in a location for just one year. So it is likely that the tournament would be held in a city for two or more years in a row if it doesn’t return to China next season. 

“We’re not going to continue to do these one-year decisions,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. If it looks like we can’t go back to China or aren’t ready to go back, then I do think we will carve out a multiyear situation, because we need to for the business.”

The case involving Shuai isn’t the only barrier for the WTA. China’s zero-covid policy has made hosting international events in the region unfeasible and the ATP cancelled all of their events in the tournament this year due to the situation. 

This year’s WTA Finals has a prize money offering of $5M which is more than half of what was on offer at the 2019 tournament in Shenzhen ($14M). 

Simon didn’t provide any deadline for when an agreement must be reached with China must be reached before the WTA considers moving their event elsewhere once again. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending