Naomi Osaka’s opening Olympic tennis match removed from Saturday schedule

The four-time grand slam champion had been due to face China’s Zheng Saisai in the opening match.

Eleanor Crooks
Friday 23 July 2021 08:24
Naomi Osaka’s first round match at the Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo has been removed from the schedule for Saturday.
Naomi Osaka’s first round match at the Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo has been removed from the schedule for Saturday.

Naomi Osaka’s first-round match at the Olympic tennis tournament was removed from the schedule for Saturday less than 24 hours before it was due to be played.

The four-time grand slam champion is making a return to action after taking an eight-week break for mental health reasons, withdrawing from the French Open and missing Wimbledon altogether.

She had been due to take on China’s Zheng Saisai in the first match on the Ariake Tennis Park’s main stadium only for a revised schedule to be released on Friday showing the clash replaced by one between sixth seed Iga Swiatek and Germany’s Mona Barthel.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from this year’s French Open and missed Wimbledon.

Organisers told the PA news agency the change had been made at the request of Tokyo 2020, prompting speculation Osaka was to be involved in the Opening Ceremony on Friday evening.

The 23-year-old, who was born in Osaka but grew up in the Unites States is one of Japan’s most high-profile sporting stars and best medal hopes.