TOKYO, 18 Oct - Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has sent a good luck message to the Brave Blossoms ahead of Sunday's quarter-final against South Africa at Tokyo Stadium.
The double grand slam winner admits she is now a rugby convert after presenting the player of the match award to Kenki Fukuoka following the win against Scotland in Yokohama, just a few hours after the tragedy of Typhoon Hagibis.
"It was a very emotion-fuelled atmosphere in the wake of the typhoon," Osaka said. "The team and the supporters did an amazing job of paying their respects in the best possible way.
“My message to the team is that you have made the country so proud. All the best and enjoy the moment. You can do it."
Two-time tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has announced she has chosen Japanese citizenship in order to represent the hosts at the @Tokyo2020 Olympics.@Naomi_Osaka_ @ITF_Tennis #Tokyo2020https://t.co/oAdrKEFsk2— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) October 10, 2019
Osaka, who won the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open earlier this year, has taken up Japanese citizenship and is likely to play at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
She said the Japan-Scotland match was one of the most fun live sporting events she has ever seen.
"Definitely a rugby fan for life now. And, yes, I have a shirt signed by all the team."
Though she cannot be at the stadium to cheer on Japan against the Springboks, she will be watching.
"I'm in a training block preparing for the WTA finals in a couple of weeks so I'm planning to watch it on TV with some close friends.
"It was such an honour to be at that match and to present the award. All 15 of them could have been the player of the match."