Naomi Osaka’s opening Tokyo Olympics match pushed back


FILE – In this May 2, 2021, file photo, Naomi Osaka, of Japan, reacts during her match against Karolina Muchova, of the Czech Republic, at Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain. Osaka’s recent withdrawal from Grand Slam play for a mental health break was not the first such episode for a tennis player — and it likely will not be the last. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

(NBC Olympics) — World No. 2 Naomi Osaka’s opening match at the Tokyo Olympic Games has been pushed back one day, to July 25, the International Tennis Federation confirmed to NBC Olympics. 

Osaka, who represents Japan, was originally scheduled to play China’s No. 52-seeded Zheng Saisai in the first match on center court on Saturday, the first day of tennis competition. The order of play for July 25 has not yet been released. 

The request to move the match came from Tokyo 2020 organizers, the ITF said. The reasoning is currently unknown. 

The Olympics will be Osaka’s first competition since she withdrew from the French Open in late May after saying she would not be doing press conferences at the event, which drew public backlash from Grand Slam organizers. In a statement on May 31 explaining her choice, Osaka said she would be taking time away from the sport and that she has been suffering from “long bouts of depression” since the 2018 U.S. Open. 

In a statement announcing her plans to play in the Olympics, Osaka’s agent said she is “excited to play in front of her home fans.”

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