Rising tennis star Naomi Osaka on Saturday said Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took a brave decision of postponing 2020 Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, IOC postponed the Tokyo Olympics to no later than the summer of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed more than 27,000 lives thus far across the world.
In a post on her Twitter handle, Osaka -- who won the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2019 and was the central character in the video to launch Tokyo 2020's official motto for the Games launched last month -- said that although she was disappointed that Olympics will not take place this year, she is sure that "we all be ready to go stronger in 2021".
"I've been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now, so here goes. Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country. Of course, I am disappointed that it won't happen this year, but we'll all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021! I support Prime Minister Abe's brave decision and the IOC 100 per cent," Osaka said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sporting calendar has also come to a grinding halt. The French Open has already been postponed and the Wimbledon are also in line to be postponed or even cancelled.
"Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now. This is the time for people from all countries, backgrounds and races to rally together to save as many lives as we can," Osaka said.
"To me, that is the Olympic spirit. To the people of Japan: stay strong, hang in there, and let's show the world our beautiful country when the time is right in 2021," she added.
The Japanese tennis star further urged people to stay safe. "Stay safe everyone, take care of each other, be kind and we will make it through."