Naomi Osaka to ditch US citizenship to play for Japan at 2020 Olympics

Naomi Osaka will play tennis for Japan instead of the U.S. during the 2020 Olympics.

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Osaka, 21, has taken the steps to ditch her U.S. citizenship to play for Japan, according to Japanese media. She was born to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother but was raised in the U.S.

Osaka told Japanese media that playing for Japan in Tokyo during the Olympics is something special for her, according to Reuters.

Osaka, who will turn 22 next week, plays under the Japanese flag in Women’s Tennis Association events and the Fed Cup. At 22 years old, Japanese law obliges dual-nationality citizens to choose one.

Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with her winner's trophy after defeating Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the women's final at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The tennis star is coming off a tough 2019 season. She started off strong winning the 2019 Australian Open but faced early exits in the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

She also became the first Asian player to reach No. 1 in women’s singles competition after the Australian Open victory. She now sits at No. 3 in the world.

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Osaka won the China Open on Sunday, her second consecutive title in Asia. She won last month at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Osaka, Japan – the first singles title she won since the Australian Open in January.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.