Nishikori ‘very sad’ after Osaka dumped out at Olympics

Sports Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, Japan | AFP

Japan’s Kei Nishikori said he was saddened by Naomi Osaka’s third-round exit at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday and sympathised with her over the huge expectations to win gold.

Former US Open runner-up Nishikori beat American Marcos Giron to reach the third round of the men’s draw and is the only Japanese player left in singles.

Osaka had absorbed much of the pressure going into the tournament as a four-time Grand Slam winner, but expectations are high as well for Nishikori who claimed bronze at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. 

“I’m very sad of course that Naomi lost, and surprised,” said Nishikori.

“But I knew she had a lot of pressure, this is her first time at the Olympics and I know it’s not easy.”

Nishikori said he had not reached out to Osaka following her defeat, but planned to message her to show his support.

“I will tell her with WhatsApp,” he added.

Nishikori will play Ilya Ivashka of Belarus for a place in the quarter-finals, where world number one Novak Djokovic potentially awaits.

Asked whether Osaka’s loss and the spotlight shifting to him affected his approach, he said: “Not really, I just need to focus on what I have to do on the court.”

mw/jc

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Tennis AFP Tokyo 2020