Nozomi Okuhara: Looking Forward to Playing With Great Players at All England

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March 13 was Nozomi Okuhara's birthday. Happy Birthday, Nozomi!! (photo: Nozomi Okuhara's Instagram)
March 13 was Nozomi Okuhara's birthday. Happy Birthday, Nozomi!! (photo: Nozomi Okuhara's Instagram)

Tokyo: World No. 4 Nozomi Okuhara was excited to compete at the All England next week. It will be her first tournament in about 6 months, after defeating Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-17 to win the 2020 Denmark Open on Oct 18, 2020.

Okuhara was upbeat when speaking to the media at Haneda Airport before leaving for the UK on Saturday.

“There will be a lot of great players at All England compared to Denmark Open, so I’m looking forward to playing them,” said Okuhara.

Even though the entire Japanese team pulled out of the 3 back-to-back tournaments in Thailand in Jan of 2021, due to Kento Momota’s COVID-19 positive incident, Okuhara said she has been analyzing her opponents’ performance through videos.

“Since we were not able to attend the tournaments, therefore, those kinds of information is very valuable to us. Of course, I am excited to be able to compete again,” said Okuhara.

Okuhara was seeded second at All England and will open against unseeded Julie Dawall Jakobsen of Denmark. The 26-year-old could face No. 4 seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, the No. 1 seed Carolina Marin of Spain announced on Saturday that she has decided to pull out of All England as the result of an injury she sustained at the Swiss Open.

“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play next week at the All England because of the injury I suffered during the Swiss Open. I’ll be back soon! 💪,” said Marin on her social media page.

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