Tennis

Naomi Osaka's opening match pushed back, raising speculation of a role in Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony

Naomi Osaka's opening match has been pushed back from Saturday to Sunday, raising speculation on whether the tennis superstar has a role to play in Friday's opening ceremony.

World No.2 returns to competition for 1st time after French Open withdrawal

Naomi Osaka of Team Japan plays a forehand shot during a practice session at Ariake Tennis Park ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka's opening match in the Olympic tennis tournament has been pushed back from Saturday to Sunday.

Organizers did not immediately provide a reason for the switch. They said only that the move came from the tournament referee.

Osaka was originally scheduled to play 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China in the very first contest of the Games on centre court Saturday morning.

One reason for the move could be that Osaka might have a role in the opening ceremony Friday night. That wouldn't leave her much time to rest before a Saturday morning match.

Osaka is returning to competition for the first time in nearly two months after she withdrew from the French Open following the first round to take a mental health break.

She is one of Japan's top athletes.

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