Naomi Osaka reveals disgusting backlash over Olympics decision

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Pictured here, Naomi Osaka looks sad during a tennis match.
Naomi Osaka says she has copped nasty criticism for choosing to represent her birth country Japan over the USA. Pic: Getty

Naomi Osaka has lifted the lid on the shocking online abuse she's received for choosing to represent Japan, rather than the USA at the Olympic Games.

The four-time major winner was born in Japan but moved to America with her parents when she was three, before announcing that she was relinquishing her US citizenship in 2019.

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Under Japan's Nationality Act, anyone with a dual citizenship must choose only one before their 22nd birthday, with Osaka deciding to stick with her birth country.

The 23-year-old's mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian.

"I've been playing under the Japan flag since I was 14. It was never even a secret that I'm going to play for Japan for the Olympics," Osaka said during an episode of her new self-titled docuseries on Netflix.

However, the World No.2 said her decision had led to some disgusting backlash on social media, with some critics even going as far as saying her "Black card" should be "revoked".

“So I don’t choose America, and suddenly people are like, ‘Your Black card is revoked,’” Osaka revealed on the series. 

“And it’s like, African-American isn’t the only Black, you know? I don’t know, I feel like people don’t know the difference between nationality and race because there’s a lot of Black people in Brazil, but they’re Brazilian.”

Seen here, Naomi Osaka at the French Open in 2021.
Naomi Osaka stunned the tennis world after withdrawing from the French Open earlier this year due to mental health concerns. Pic: Getty

World No.2 has 'special desire' to represent Japan

Osaka previously told Japanese broadcaster NHK that she had a "special desire" to represent her country of birth at the upcoming Olympic Games.

"It is a special feeling to aim for the Olympics as a representative of Japan," said.

"I think that playing with the pride of the country will make me feel more emotional."

Osaka recently took time away from the game, withdrawing from the French Open and skipping Wimbledon, on mental health grounds.

But in a piece for Time, Osaka thanked a number of stars, including Michele Obama and Novak Djokovic, for lending their support during her time away from the game.

The Japanese star created a storm after refusing to participate in tennis' obligatory press conferences at Roland Garros, prompting a fine from tournament organisers and the threat of being banned from future tournaments if she continued to do so.

Osaka told Time that she hopes “we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones,” and suggests they be allowed to sometimes skip media obligations without punishment.

with agencies

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