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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Naomi Osaka Is The Star Attraction In Tokyo As Japan Compete In The World Cup Of Tennis

For the overwhelming majority of the 12 months, tennis is a person sport (in fact there’s doubles however I don’t take a lot curiosity in that kind) however there are a number of instances every season when it’s a workforce recreation as one of the best gamers symbolize their nation within the World Cup of Tennis. It could be a squad of 5 gamers however one large star participant can virtually single handedly carry a nation via the competitors. Would that be the case with Japan?

The Billie Jean King Cup passed off final weekend in numerous areas world wide together with Tokyo the place Japan had been up in opposition to Kazakhstan. This match, in addition to the lads’s equal (often called the Davis Cup) has a really completely different model and ambiance to the Grand Slam tournaments because the spectators can use musical devices, clappers, cheer sticks and even sing! It’s principally a football-style ambiance and it was one which I used to be very enthusiastic about experiencing as soon as I discovered about this match in the beginning of this 12 months.


After I booked my ticket again in February the inclusion of four-time Grand Slam winner  and tennis icon Naomi Osaka hadn’t been introduced. I wasn’t in any respect anticipating one in every of my large sporting heroes to be concerned in any respect as she hasn’t performed within the match for 4 years so it was an enormous bonus for me when information of her partipation at Ariake Coliseum in Koto-ku was revealed. Her star attraction should’ve helped put some extra bums on seats however it may’ve been way more had the organisers promoted the occasion higher.

The one event I’ve seen Osaka in motion was really the final time she performed in Tokyo again in September 2022 on the Toray Pan Pacific Open match. It didn’t fairly go as deliberate then however it did make for a fairly fascinating anecdote! On that event the climate outdoors was completely horrendous, and this time it was wet too which put paid to my thought of biking there. It had cleared up by the point I arrived on the nearest station however the roof remained closed as was the case for my final go to to the world for the world road skateboarding championships in December.


Inside, the ambiance was already constructing and all of the Kazakh followers had been congregated in a single block and their numerous trumpets and chants introduced loads of color and ambiance to the event. I used to be a bit apprehensive beforehand concerning the often-passive Japanese however I needn’t have nervous as a fanatical group within the nook had been incredible of their help while the cheer sticks (normally given out at no cost at most sports activities however offered right here for 200 yen!) of different followers within the area made it a memorable and noisy ambiance. One group of followers had massive cardboard cut-out faces of all of the Japanese workforce and I needed to get a photograph taken with the Naomi Osaka one.

Simply after 2:00 pm the groups entered the fray and stood dealing with my route for the respective nationwide anthems which had been very contrasting of their size. The Japanese one appeared very fast however the opposition one went on and on which did really remind me of a scene within the ‘Borat‘ (2006) film the place Sasha Baron Cohen’s fictional Khazakstani comedy character sang a totally made-up anthem.

With the pre-match formalities out of the way in which it was time for the motion. Nao Hibino (at present ranked at 79 on this planet) was first up for Japan in opposition to Anna Danilina and when she misplaced the primary two factors on her serve I used to be already beginning to assume it may not be her day. That’s what tennis is like although and the mentality of the gamers is so vital.

Hibino recovered to win that first recreation, after which broke serve to go 2-0 up. There was no trying again after that and a few splendidly correct photographs noticed her romp to victory in slightly below an hour with a 6-1, 6-0 scoreline. Japan had been 1-0 up as it’s a workforce recreation keep in mind!

Simply after 3:45 pm, Osaka (at present ranked over 100 locations decrease than Hibino) and her opponent Yulia Putintseva got here on courtroom and the ambiance, which had been actually good as much as that time, ramped up a notch. Loads has been mentioned through the years about Osaka and she or he nonetheless very a lot divides the inhabitants with many unable to just accept that she is Japanese. Fortunately none of that nonsense mattered in any respect to these sitting courtside who had been delighted to see her play.

The primary set adopted the sample of the earlier match and I used to be starting to fret that it could all be over too rapidly for my liking. Nevertheless, her opponent pushed her a lot nearer than I’d have appreciated in that second set leading to a tense tie-breaker.

General, her gameplay was nonetheless a bit rusty with some photographs missing the accuracy of previous days however fortunately her serve acquired her out of hassle a number of instances with speeds of over 180 kilometres per hour recorded many times. The gang gasped in awe all through each time her highly effective serves resulted in aces. It occurred 15 instances in whole with an incredble three within the opening recreation of the second set.

9 of one of the best! I took method too many footage!

After 82 minutes on courtroom it was a reduction for each Osaka and the Japan followers to listen to “Sport, set and match” referred to as by the umpire. Excessive fives had been so as from Osaka for all the Japan teaching workers and teammates as the group cheered and applauded.

She acknowledged the house help, hit some balls into the stand for the followers and the standard slighly awkward on-court post-match interview adopted.


It started in Japanese earlier than she switched to English. She complimented the ambiance and even mentioned it was the most effective she’d ever performed in.

To her credit score she then went spherical a lot of the world assembly these followers who had been fortunate sufficient to be within the costlier seats on the entrance. These of us within the low-cost seats weren’t allowed into that courtside space and will solely watch on and really feel envious of these followers getting objects signed or having selfies taken together with her.

Subsequent time she’s in Tokyo I could must splash out on a costlier seat after which hope and pray that she wins the match and is within the temper to satisfy and greet followers.

Last Rating: Japan 2-0 Kazakhstan

  • The groups returned a day later the place Nao Hibino was the star of the present beating Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 to clinch the match for Japan. It meant that Osaka’s later singles match in opposition to Anna Danilina didn’t get performed which can have little doubt pissed off most of the spectators hoping to see her play. The doubles match did nonetheless go forward although with Danilina and Zhibeb Kulambayeva teaming as much as defeat Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama 7-6, 3-6, 11-9.

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