Boca Raton resident Naomi Osaka, two-time Grand Slam champion and currently the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is giving up her U.S. citizenship in order to represent Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Osaka, who is of Japanese and Haitian descent, was born in Japan before she and her family moved to South Florida in 2006 from New York, where they had lived since 2000.
According to Japan’s Nationality Act, individuals who hold dual citizenship are required to choose one nationality before their 22nd birthday. Osaka turns 22 this Wednesday.
She says, “It is a special feeling to aim for the Olympics as a representative of Japan. I think it will be more emotional to play for the pride of the country.”
Osaka already represents Japan in the Fed Cup and on the WTA Tour. Most recently, she surged past Ashleigh Barty, winning the 2019 China Open.
She also became the first Japanese player to win a major after defeated Serena Williams in last year’s U.S. Open final, before earning her second Grand Slam tournament win at the 2019 Australian Open.
The Olympic Channel reports that Osaka will only be permitted to represent Japan next year if she plays for that country in at least one more national tennis competition organized by the International Tennis Federation.