Japanese stars Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori admit concern over Tokyo Olympics due to Covid-19 pandemic

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Naomi Osaka zoning in

They are set to be two of Japan’s leading figures at the Tokyo Olympics, but Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori admit there “should be a discussion” over whether or not the Games should be held this year.

Originally scheduled for 2020, the Tokyo Games were rescheduled to July 23 until August 8 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have announced several health and safety restrictions, including banning international fans from travelling to Japan, there are still major concerns as Covid-19 is still not under control in most countries.

Asked for her thoughts on the Games going ahead, four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka said: “Of course I would say I want the Olympics to happen, because I’m an athlete and that’s sort of what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.

She added: “But I think that there’s so much important stuff going on, and especially the past year.

“I think a lot of unexpected things have happened and if it’s putting people at risk, and if it’s making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now.”

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There are still states of emergencies in several Japan prefectures including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo, until May 31.

Former world No 4 Nishikori is in action at the Italian Open and he said you can’t compare the two tournaments as more than 10,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Olympics.

“This is not like 100 people like these tournaments,” he said.

“It’s 10,000 people in a Village, playing a tournament. I don’t think it’s easy, especially (with) what’s happening right now in Japan, it’s not doing good.”

He added: “You can make a good bubble and maybe you can do it. There is some risk too. What happens if there’s 100 cases in the Village? Or it can be thousands.”

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