Naomi Osaka And A Tale Of Two Countries - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka And A Tale Of Two Countries

The US Open champion has to renounce her U.S. citizenship because of Japanese law. But it’s not that easy



Naomi Osaka (@usopen on Twitter)

There is little doubt that the star of women’s tennis, and probably of the whole of tennis, after the pandemic break has been Naomi Osaka. Despite the thigh injury that has kept her out of Roland Garros and a ranking that sees her only at no. 3, her win at the US Open coupled with the role she has played in the unprecedented uprising that led the Western&Southern Open to postpone the semifinal day by 24 hours have risen Naomi’s profile to transcend the tennis niche and land in the star system mainstream.


However, this last triumphant summer, concluded with no less than a cover on Vogue, was just the icing on the cake for whom had been listed by Forbes as the highest paid female athlete in the world in 2019 (37.4 million dollars between prize money and endorsements) and did not hesitate to fly to Minneapolis to witness first hand the racial disorders following the killing of George Floyd.

This 2020 was supposed to be a very important year for Naomi, as she was preparing to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in her home country of Japan. Despite having spent most of her life living in the United States, she has always competed under the Japanese flag and had been selected as one of the testimonials for this Olympiad.

In order to honor the support she has received throughout her junior years from the Japanese Tennis Federation and as an act of coherence for the choice she made to represent Japan in international competitions, Naomi Osaka announced in 2019 that she would be renouncing U.S. citizenship in compliance with Japanese law that does not formally recognize dual citizenship. In fact, she had benefited from an exemption granted to so-called ‘hafu’, the Japanese term used to define mixed-raced children, that is those with parents of different nationalities. Osaka’s mother, Tamaki,  is Japanese, while her father, Leonard François, is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Haiti. According to Japanese law, ‘hafu’ children would be able to maintain dual passports until their 22nd birthday, but then they would have to choose one or the other.

Osaka turned 22 on 16th October 2019, and she has repeatedly confirmed she intends to maintain her Japanese passport only.

Naomi Osaka at the 2020 US Open

However, this presents a logistical conundrum to be solved. First of all, Naomi has always lived in the United States, first in Florida where her mother still lives, and now in the Los Angeles area where she has moved in with her boyfriend, rapper YBN Cordae. The move to Southern California has been justified by her desire to undertake several business ventures that would be better attended to while in Los Angeles. But were she to give up her U.S. citizenship, she will lose the right to live and work in the United States and she would need to secure again that right under her Japanese passport.

For an athlete of her stature that would not be difficult, though: there is a visa, called O-1, that is reserved for “the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements”. This visa can lead quite easily to a “Green Card”, which is the status of Lawful Permanent Resident in the United States, which would give her most of the privileges she would enjoy as a citizen. But the application could take months, if not longer, and could not be started before she renounces her U.S. citizenship. What to do in the meantime?

But this is not the biggest problem she faces. In fact, renouncing U.S. citizenship could trigger an ‘exit tax’, a tax levied by the U.S. Government to discourage high net-worth individuals from leaving the United States and not having to pay taxes to “Uncle Sam” every year. The U.S. is one of the only two countries in the world that taxes its citizens on their worldwide income no matter where they live. The exit tax can be triggered by various situations, but in general it is not due by individuals whose net-worth is lower than 2 million dollars and who on average pay less than 171,000 dollars a year in taxes to the United States. The calculation of the net-worth includes all assets owned by the individual in question, as well as an actualized value of possible future revenue streams (such as a possible future pension). Considering that Naomi Osaka earned an estimated 37.4 million dollars in 2019 alone, it is safe to assume that she would need to pay a substantial amount to forego her U.S. passport.

Naomi Osaka (@HsrSports on Twitter)

Osaka would be in the paradoxical situation of having to sign a hefty check to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to just continue doing what she is doing now, that is live in California and continue to pay California taxes.

The ‘exit tax’ can be minimized through careful structuring of personal assets through the use of gifts and donations to parents and relatives, which under the fledgling Trump administration have enjoyed record-high exemptions from estate taxes, but it would be very difficult to avoid it completely. Nonetheless, asset restructuring is bound to take time, and this may explain why Osaka has not yet renounced her American citizenship, despite the deadline of her 22nd birthday imposed by the Japanese law passed over a year ago.

All individuals who decide to expatriate and forfeit the U.S. citizenship are published quarterly on the Federal Register, the official journal of the federal government of the United States. As of the last publication of these lists, which occurred on 29th October 2020, her name has not yet been included among those who have abandoned the blue passport with the bald eagle.

According to Canadian law firm Moodys LLP that specializes in U.S. citizenship renunciation, the average time for the procedure varies between 5 and 10 months, although some consular offices are heavily back-logged with a wait time of up to 20 months. An interview with a U.S. official at a U.S. Consulate is needed in order to complete the process, as it has to be established whether the individual is involved in illicit activities and wants to escape prosecution or intends to renounce to avoid paying taxes to the U.S. while living in another country. In that case the Attorney General has the power to prevent the individual from entering the United States forever.

But what to do in the meantime while technically in violation of Japanese law? Many Japanese people in the same situation choose to do absolutely nothing. Figures from the Justice Ministry reported by the New York Times suggest there may be almost 900,000 Japanese citizens holding some other passport, and “the government has never revoked Japanese citizenship from anyone who, like Osaka, was granted citizenship at birth”. In most cases, these people keep living their lives avoiding the topic of nationality disclosing their situation to as few people as possible with the tacit acceptance from the government in some kind of international “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

But given Osaka’s international high profile, it would be difficult for her to fly under the radar and adopt this strategy.

During the last Western&Southern Open, Naomi was asked a question about the forthcoming presidential elections in the United States, with perspective vice-president Kamala Harris being born to an Asian mother and a father from the Caribbean, just like her. She replied: “I would say it’s a bit weird, the stance I have to take. I’m not supposed to talk about politics, to be honest, because technically I’m not American, per se. I kind of have always been advised not to say anything. I don’t know. It’s a bit weird when you’re living in the country and you’re seeing the things that are going on, and you kind of want to say what you think but you’re not supposed to”.

Considering her inclination to take a public stand against what she believes is wrong, Osaka could use her immense following to go head-to-head with the Japanese government and force a change in direction that would officially allow some kind of dual citizenship for Japanese people. But that would be a challenge on a whole different level than what she has experienced so far, both on-court and off-court.

Of course, the easiest solution would be to actually leave the United States, move away from her Beverly Hills mansion and relocate to some tax haven where, after paying her dues to the U.S. taxman, she would enjoy millions of dollars more every year than she would with her current set-up. For example, she could move to the Bahamas, a mere 40-minute flight to her mom’s house in West Palm Beach, Florida, travel to the United States when required by her business engagements, and forget about “green card” and taxes.

But Naomi doesn’t look like the type to take the path of least resistance. She is going to stand for what she believes is right, and she will probably find the way to shine even in this difficult predicament.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Benefitting From Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev’s Success

Stefanos Tsitsipas starts his Miami Open campaign against Richard Gasquet on Saturday.



(@stathopoulosth - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas admits that he is benefitting from Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev’s recent success ahead of the Miami Open.


Tsitsipas had a good start to the season himself after reaching the Australian Open final before losing to Novak Djokovic.

However since then Tsitsipas’ form has tailed off as he continues to manage injuries.

The Greek has a lot of work to do to turn his form around ahead of the clay court season after his last set tiebreak defeat to Jordan Thompson in the second round of Indian Wells.

Tsitsipas’ turbulent form comes at a time where his nearest rivals are achieving great success in the tour with Carlos Alcaraz winning Indian Wells last week.

Meanwhile Daniil Medvedev was on a 19 match winning streak before losing the final at Indian Wells to Alcaraz.

Speaking to the media Tsitsipas says he is using Greek philosophy to help him believe that his rivals success will translate to his game, “I’m happy for them,” Tsitsipas told Tennis Infinity.

“I believe in the message of ubuntu [a philosophy that supports collectivism over individualism]…by having others be good, [to] sort of witness greatness of others around me, I am also allowing myself to become better too.

“I believe in that message and I think the fact that they’re doing well is benefitting me too and it’s giving me a clear, better view of how I should approach my game.”

Tsitsipas will be positive that their success will benefit his game at the Miami Open where he is the second seed.

The opening match for Tsitsipas will be fellow one-handed backhander Richard Gasquet with their head-to-head tied at 1-1.

Ahead of the contest Tsitsipas admitted that he is getting closer to being pain free, “Everything is getting better and I’m heading toward the right direction,” Tsitsipas said.

“[I hope] to play pain free and just be able to step out there and show something different than Indian Wells because Indian Wells was a big struggle…I hope I get to play with more of an element of fun on the court and not think too much about my arm.”

The match will take place on Saturday as Tsitsipas looks to build momentum towards his Monte-Carlo title defence.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Canadians Andreescu, Fernandez Face Top 10 Opposition



A look at the grounds of the Miami Open (

Second round ATP and WTA action takes place on Friday in Miami.


The WTA’s top two Canadian players will take part in two of the day’s best matchups.  2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu takes on Maria Sakkari, while 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez plays Belinda Bencic.

Other action on Friday includes top names such as Carlos Alcaraz, Aryna Sabalenka, Casper Ruud, and Ons Jabeur.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Maria Sakkari (7) vs. Bianca Andreescu – 12:00pm on Stadium Court

Andreescu is 7-6 this season, and overcame fellow US Open champ Emma Raducanu in the first round.  This is only her third appearance in Miami, but she is 9-2 at this event, and was the runner-up the last time she played here in 2021.

Sakkari is now 15-6 on the year, yet is just 7-5 in Miami.  Four of those wins came during her semifinal run in 2021, when she lost to Andreescu in a dramatic three-setter.

That 2021 semifinal lasted nearly three hours, with Andreescu eventually prevailing in a third-set tiebreak well after midnight.  Their only other meeting occurred later that year at the US Open, with Sakkari winning 6-3 in the third.  In the rubber match on Friday, Maria has to be considered the favorite based on recent form, though it’s hard to ever count out Bianca, one of the sport’s most dogged competitors.

Leylah Fernandez vs. Belinda Bencic (9) – Fifth on Butch Buchholz Court

Fernandez is 8-6 in 2023, and on Wednesday earned her first-ever victory in Miami, over Lesia Tsurenko.  Leylah has struggled to regain her form after suffering a serious foot injury in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros last June.

Bencic is a strong 15-4 to start the season, and has already collected two hard court titles (Adelaide, Abu Dhabi).  While she’s just 8-6 lifetime in Miami, she did advance to the semifinals last year, losing to Naomi Osaka.

Leylah and Belinda have split four previous matches, two of which occurred during the Billie Jean King Cup, most recently last fall when Bencic won in straights.  Just a few weeks earlier, Bencic also defeated Fernandez, this time 6-3 in the third in Guadalajara.  This is another case where the Canadian should be considered the underdog, but a Canadian victory would not be shocking.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Andrey Rublev (6) vs. J.J. Wolf – Rublev is a modest 11-7 this year, and just 10-7 in Miami.  Wolf is 9-6 this year, and reached the second week of a Major for the first time in Melbourne.  Last summer in Washington, Andrey defeated J.J. in straight sets.

Varvara Gracheva (Q) vs. Ons Jabeur (4) – Jabeur is just 4-3 on the year, having undergone a minor surgery after the Australian Open.  She’s is 1-0 against Gracheva, having defeated her in three sets last year in Madrid on clay.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Facundo Bagnis – Alcaraz is 14-1 since February, and needs to defend this title in order to retain the No.1 ranking.  Bagnis’ win in the opening round was his first ATP-level main draw victory on a hard court since August.  Last summer on clay in Umag, Alcaraz beat Bagnis 6-0, 6-4.

Caroline Garcia (5) vs. Sorana Cirstea – This is a rematch from just last week at Indian Wells, when Cirstea upset Garcia 7-5 in the third.  Caroline claimed their other two previous meetings, though all three have now gone three sets.

Shelby Rogers vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now 17-2 in 2023, but is only 4-4 lifetime in Miami.  Rogers eliminated another Slam champ, Sloane Stephens, in the first round.  Aryna is 3-0 against Shelby, which includes a straight-set victory at January’s Australian Open.

Casper Ruud (3) vs. Ilya Ivashka – Ruud is defending runner-up points from a year ago, but is only 4-5 this season.  Ivashka arrived at Indian Wells on a nine-match losing streak, yet has now claimed three of his last four matches. 

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Top 3 Miami Open 2023 Male Contenders

Carlos Alcaraz is among the top three contenders for the Miami Open title in 2023.



Carlos Alcaraz (@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Tennis is arguably one of the most popular sports of today. It features players from all over the world looking to walk away with a trophy after decimating their opponents. As a global sport, tennis has a following worldwide.


Loads of platforms enable tennis players to follow events and matches. Some of these platforms cover a variety of sports so besides tennis matches, they’ll also offer MMA fights, football tips, basketball matches, and more. The main thing about these sites is to enjoy them responsibly.

When it comes to tennis tournaments, the Miami Open 2023 is upon us, and there are some serious contenders this year. In that regard, here are the top 3 male contenders for the tournament this year:

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz is a young Spanish tennis player who has been making waves in the tennis world. Born on May 5, 2003, in Murcia, Spain, he turned professional in 2018 and has already achieved several impressive feats at a very young age. He won his first ATP Tour title in August 2021, becoming the youngest player in over a decade to win an ATP Tour title. Alcaraz is known for his aggressive style of play, which is complemented by his excellent footwork and shot-making ability. With his promising talent, work ethic, and track record, Alcaraz is expected to be a top contender at the Miami Open 2023.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas is a Greek professional tennis player who has established himself as one of the brightest stars in the sport. Born on August 12, 1998, in Athens, Greece, Tsitsipas turned professional in 2016 and has since then climbed the ranks to become a top player. He has won nine ATP Tour titles, including the prestigious ATP Finals in 2019, and has reached the semi-finals of Grand Slam tournaments.

Tsitsipas is known for his all-around game, which is characterized by his powerful serves, aggressive baseline strokes, and deft touch at the net. He is also a keen strategist on the court, always looking for ways to outmaneuver his opponents. Off the court, Tsitsipas is a multilingual individual who is passionate about philosophy and other intellectual pursuits. With his talent, personality, and dedication, Tsitsipas is poised to make a significant impact on the Miami Open 2023.

Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud is a Norwegian professional tennis player who has been rising in the rankings in recent years. Born on December 22, 1998, in Oslo, Norway, Ruud comes from a family of tennis players, with his father being a former player and his mother a former top-level junior player. He turned professional in 2016 and has since then won nine ATP Tour titles, all of them on clay courts. Ruud is known for his strong baseline game, which is built around his powerful forehand and his ability to move well on clay. With his youth and talent, Ruud will be looking to make a significant impact on Miami Open 2023.

In conclusion, these are the 3 top male contenders for the Miami Open 2023. They will take on each other and prove their worth on the court. But only one will walk away with the trophy.

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