Naomi Osaka lights Olympic flame to start Tokyo Games
© Getty Images

Japan's Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic flame on Friday to officially start the Tokyo Games, becoming the first tennis player in the modern Games's history to do so.

ADVERTISEMENT

The four-time Grand Slam champion will be competing in her first match on Sunday against China.

The Summer Olympics, which were postponed from last year by the coronavirus pandemic, are set to go until Aug. 8.

Controversy surrounds the Tokyo Olympics, as some say it is still too dangerous to hold the event with COVID-19 case counts rising in the host country. Cases in Tokyo hit a six-month high just one day before the Games began.

The Olympics have placed strict rules on participants and banned all spectators in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, but athletes from multiple countries, including the U.S., have already tested positive.

Osaka has begun vocally advocating for mental health issues after she pulled out of the French Open this summer over objections to its rules on engaging with the press.

“It has become apparent to me that literally everyone either suffers from issues related to their mental health or knows someone who does. The number of messages I received from such a vast cross section of people confirms that. I think we can almost universally agree that each of us is a human being and subject to feelings and emotions,” she said.