Osaka commits to Olympics but concerned over virus

MELBOURNE (AFP) – Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka yesterday said she was committed to competing in the delayed Tokyo Olympics, but believed public approval was crucial for the Games to go ahead this year.

Organisers are still adamant the Olympics can be held safely even if the coronavirus is not under control by the time the flame is lit on July 23.

The three-time Grand Slam champion admitted being worried by a recent poll that found 80 per cent of the Japanese public were opposed to Tokyo hosting the event this year.

Large parts of Japan are currently under a state of emergency to tackle a spike in coronavirus cases, with borders closed to almost all foreigners.

“My concern would be the general safety of everyone else because you’re opening the country,” Osaka said.

“Everyone is flying in from different places. I would just want the public to feel safe.”

The 23-year-old has been the poster girl of the 2020 Olympics and still hopes to represent Japan at her home Games.

“I will stay in my room for two weeks to play the Olympics,” said Osaka.

“I missed out on the last one. Playing in Tokyo would be very special to me.”

World’s men number two Rafael Nadal echoed Osaka’s sentiments and hoped to play, but said health experts should have the final say.

“What we have to do is just follow the instructions of what the people who really have the right knowledge of all this stuff give to us,” he told reporters yesterday.

The Spaniard said mandatory quarantine ahead of the Olympics would be hard to squeeze into the congested tour schedule.