Thu, 24 Jun 2021

Tokyo [Japan] May 11 (ANI): Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka wants to play in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics but she isn't "sure" whether the quadrennial event would go ahead as planned.

The Tokyo Olympics scheduled to take place in 2020 was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the tournament will now be held from July 23 to August 8.

"I'm an athlete, and of course my immediate thought is that I want to play in the Olympics," BBC quoted Osaka as saying.

"But as a human, I would say we're in a pandemic, and if people aren't healthy, and if they're not feeling safe, then it's definitely a really big cause for concern," she added.

The Japanese government has extended a COVID-19 led state of emergency in several prefectures including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo, until May 31.

The latest restrictions have been introduced in view of the critical epidemiological situation in the country.

When BBC Sport asked the tennis star that if it would be appropriate to stage the showpiece event during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the four-time Grand Slam champion said: "To be honest, I'm not really sure."The 23-year-old will feel sad if the Olympics goes ahead without fans but she is still gearing to participate in her debut tournament.

"I've never played an Olympic event, so it's not like I would have anything to compare it to," Osaka said.

"I would feel, of course, definitely a bit sad, but at the end of the day, it's an honour to play in the Olympics in the first place and if that's what keeps people healthy, then I'm up for [playing behind closed doors]." (ANI)

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