Osaka dreams big about Paris 2024: “If they let me play, I hope to win a medal”

The person in charge of lighting the cauldron in Tokyo 2020 returned to represent Japan in the Billie Jean King Cup, but she must appeal to participate in the Olympic tournament because she did not meet the ITF requirement for two calls.

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Osaka could claim its “historic commitment” to Olympism to be in Paris. Credits: EFE
Osaka could claim its “historic commitment” to Olympism to be in Paris. Credits: EFE

Naomi Osaka, former number 1 on the WTA circuit and responsible for lighting the cauldron in Tokyo 2020, declared yesterday after Japan qualified for the Billie Jean King Cup finals that she “would hope to be able to play, do very well and get a medal” in Paris 2024, “if they let her”.

The doubt of the only Asian to reach the top of the ranking is based on the fact that she was not part of the minimum of two calls to her country during the current Olympic cycle required by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which authorizes her to file an appeal to the ITF Olympic Committee.

The only representation of Osaka came last Saturday in the victory against Yulia Putintseva, from Kazakhstan, 6-2 and 7-6 (5), which contributed to the first passage of the Japanese team to the final phase of Seville to be played between November 12 and 17, after the Olympic Games.

The release of the 26-year-old Japanese woman after the victory against Putintseva. Credits: AFP
The release of the 26-year-old Japanese woman after the victory against Putintseva. Credits: AFP

It is reasonable that the winner of four Grand Slams, absent for 15 months between 2022 and 2023 due to the pregnancy and birth of her first-born daughter Shai, bases her formal claim on motherhood or her “historic commitment” to Olympism, since she was the only tennis player in history to fan the sacred fire of the cauldron. Along these lines, Saturday praised the Games, which she referred to as “a celebration of sport” capable of “uniting everyone”.

The final cut of the ranking that will define the direct places for the Paris 2024 squad will be on June 10, the Monday after the end of Roland Garros. Osaka, which stated its intention to complete and triumph in the clay season, rounded up the week in 193rd place, far from the top 56 to guarantee access. If she fails to do so and if she is successful in the appeal, she could receive an invitation from the ITF as a Grand Slam champion.

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