LOS ANGELES – Two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka threw the ceremonial first pitch prior to Wednesday’s Los Angeles Dodgers-Los Angeles Angels game.
While she said she was nervous and lacked practice ahead of the pitch, the world No. 2 women’s singles player, threw the ball to Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda, who barely had to move as he caught it easily on the fly.
The 21-year-old, wearing the home team’s cap and a No. 97 shirt, raised her right hand in delight as the crowd at Dodger Stadium clapped and cheered at the Dodgers’ “Japan Night” promotion.
“This is my second time watching live baseball and I’m really honored to have the chance to do this,” Osaka told reporters before the game. “Also I’m a bit nervous about throwing the ball but I’ll have fun.
“I see a lot of people who throw really good and I also see a lot of people who throw really bad, so I hope I’m one of the better throwers.”
The former world No. 1 said she hopes to make her Olympic debut in front of her Japanese fans at the Tokyo Games.
“I think everyone’s excited for the Olympics. It’s definitely the biggest deal coming up next year, for sure, and I’ve been kind of looking forward to it since Rio (de Janeiro, in 2016), because I didn’t play in that,” she said.
“I think there’s no better first Olympics for me and I’m just really looking forward to it.”
The Angels beat the Dodgers 3-2.