Former world number one star Naomi Osaka on Saturday hailed Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) for taking a brave decision of postponing Tokyo Olympics 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, IOC postponed the Tokyo Olympics to no later than the summer of 2021 because of the effect of the deadly virus which has claimed more than 27,000 lives and affected 6,00,000 people plus thus far across the world. Also Read - Delhi Airport To Shut Operations At T2 Terminal From May 17 Midnight

Osaka – who won the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2019 – was the central character in the video to launch Tokyo 2020’s official motto for the Summer Games launched last month. The 22-year-old said that although she was disappointed that Olympics will not take place this year, she is sure that ‘we all be ready to go stronger in 2021’. Also Read - IPL 2021: England Players Unlikely To Play In Rescheduled IPL, Feels Michael Atherton

“I’ve been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now, so here goes. Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country. Of course, I am disappointed that it won’t happen this year, but we’ll all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021! I support Prime Minister Abe’s brave decision and the IOC 100 per cent,” Osaka said. Also Read - Karnataka Reports 39,510 Fresh COVID Cases, 22,584 Discharges in Last 24 Hours

The sporting calendar has also come to a grinding halt amid the COVID-19 lockdown around the globe. The second Slam of the year – French Open has already been postponed and the Wimbledon are also in line to be postponed or even cancelled.

“Sport will eventually unite us again and be there for us always, but that time is not now. This is the time for people from all countries, backgrounds and races to rally together to save as many lives as we can,” Osaka said.

“To me, that is the Olympic spirit. To the people of Japan: stay strong, hang in there, and let’s show the world our beautiful country when the time is right in 2021,” she added.

The Japanese tennis star further urged people to stay safe. “Stay safe everyone, take care of each other, be kind and we will make it through.”