Naomi Osaka says she is still excited for the Tokyo Olympics despite the coronavirus crisis forcing it to be postponed for a year.
The two-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one was gearing up to be one of the faces of the games as she competed for the hosts.
However, those plans came to a crashing halt as the world paused to attempt to contain and control the coronavirus outbreak.
“Like most athletes that had been training I was disappointed at first but when you realise the postponement is for the better of the entire world you know the game can wait, we will come together in 2021 and be ready,” Osaka told Reuters.
“I actually have a lot of sympathy for athletes, like track athletes, who work for four years and plan to peak at that exact time. Now their schedule is probably in turmoil.
“Tennis is a little bit different so I shouldn’t have to alter my preparations too much.
“I know so many people (including close friends) that have worked so hard on the Games, and I know how difficult this has been for people in Japan as well … So it has been tough.
“But of course it is the right decision, which has my full backing. I’m really hopeful that the Olympics will now be a massive celebration for the world at the other end of this pandemic.
Osaka also lifted the lid on how she was getting through the lockdown personally, and admitted some of the respite from the every-day pressures of touring have actually been welcomed.
- TEAMtalk media