“I Said to My 12-Year-Old Daughter”- Former Grand Slam Champion Lindsay Davenport Says Naomi Osaka Lighting the Tokyo Olympics Fire Was Special

Published 05/20/2022, 8:02 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – July 23, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan carries the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Naomi Osaka is one of the most promising players on the tour. The 24-year-old is a 4-time Grand Slam champion and a former World No. 1. Even though Osaka has tasted massive success on the tour, her biggest accomplishment came at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the Olympic cauldron.

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This was a unique honor that drew a mention from former World No.1, Lindsay Davenport. The former American tennis star revealed the hilarious conversation she had with her daughter.

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Why was Osaka’s torch-bearing a special one for Lindsay Davenport?

While conversing with prominent tennis host Isaac Gaulden, Davenport recalled the time she saw Osaka lighting the Olympic Torch. She said, “We were watching the Tokyo Olympics last summer… I said to my 12-year-old daughter that we have to watch. Osaka is going to light the torch. This is gonna be amazing… So, we stayed up to watch.”

Lindsay Davenport dominated the WTA tour in the late nineties. In 1996, the American star outplayed some top players like Anke Huber, Iva-Majoli Maric, and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario to win the Olympic Gold in Atlanta.

However, her daughter feels that Davenport’s Olympic era was not like that of Osaka’s. Recalling the hilarious conversation, a laughing Davenport said, “We were talking about the Olympics, and she’s like, “you didn’t play in like that Olympics.” I was like, yeah? That’s the Olympics. I played it.” 

Davenport’s daughter might be her mother’s biggest fan, but the 12-year-old undoubtedly had a different opinion than that of her mother. Explaining her daughter’s point further, Davenport said, “She was like, no mom, I know there’s different levels. But not like Olympics like the Tokyo one.”

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Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games

Even though Osaka dazzled as the face of the 2020 Olympics opening ceremony when she became the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron, she failed to conjure magic on the court. Entering the tournament as the second seed, she kicked off her Olympic campaign with a win over China’s Zheng Saisai.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 2 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her second round match against Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland REUTERS/Mike Segar

The Japanese star followed it up with a win over Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the next round, but exited in the third round with a defeat to Marketa Vondrousova. 

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Ahmar Wasif

945 articles

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.

Edited By: Reubyn Coutinho

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