Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori Earns Spots in Tokyo Olympics 2021 Draw

Published 06/18/2021, 9:24 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 05: Men’s singles semi-finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and women’s singles semi-finalist Naomi Osaka of Japan pose for a portrait outside The Kitano Hotel following their quarter-final matches on day 10 of the 2018 US Open at The Kitano Hotel on September 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)


Tokyo Olympics 2021 is just over a month away and the host nation now has its singles line-up set. World No.2 Naomi Osaka has qualified for the Olympics whereas 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist Kei Nishikori has also now scrapped through.

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For the Olympics, the top 56 ranked players qualify, and hence because of her ranking, Osaka easily qualified. The rankings after the conclusion of French Open 2021 are being considered and despite Osaka’s early withdrawal from the event, she easily qualified courtesy of her World No.2 ranking.

Naomi Osaka reacts during her first-round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Naomi Osaka eager to represent Japan at her maiden Olympics

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Osaka is determined to represent Japan at the Olympics. Osaka had spent a considerable part of her childhood in the United States and hence was eligible to represent them. However, Osaka gave up her American citizenship and continued with her Japanese citizenship to represent the Asian country at its home Olympics in 2021.

“I contest grand slams every year, but an Olympic Games is only once every four years so there are not many opportunities to become an Olympic champion. Representing Japan at an Olympic Games and winning gold for Japan would mean so much.”

Osaka had earlier raised concerns regarding her Olympics participation after she had opened up about her mental health issues. Then Osaka withdrew from Wimbledon 2021 but ensured that she is looking forward to making her return at Olympics later in July.

Kei Nishikori reacts during his second round match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

How did Kei Nishikori qualify for Tokyo Olympics 2021?

Nishikori‘s ranking was in a precarious state on 14th June. He was just outside the top 56 at 57th. However, since many players like Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, and Roberto Bautista Agut have withdrawn from the Olympics and given that many countries have more than the allowed four players in the top 56, Nishikori qualified for Tokyo Olympics.

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Nishikori will now play his fourth consecutive Olympics. In the past two Olympics, he has at least reached the quarterfinals with a bronze medal at Rio Olympics 2016 against Rafael Nadal.

Along with Nishikori, Yoshihito Nishioka was also confirmed in men’s singles for Japan. Nishioka was ranked 56th and automatically qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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