Who Is Naomi Osaka’s Sister, Mari Osaka?

Published 04/26/2021, 10:02 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her quarter final match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Naomi Osaka has quickly ascended to the top of the tennis pile. She is not only racking up Grand Slam titles, but she is also is the highest-paid female athlete in the world. Naomi has an elder sister, Mari Osaka, who was a WTA professional player, but couldn’t reach the heights Naomi has.

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Naomi Osaka gives an interview as she celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

All you need to know about Mari Osaka

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Mari Osaka is just one year older than Naomi and was a relatively unknown figure on the WTA Tour. In her short-lived career, Mari played just one WTA match back at the 2019 Miami Open. Playing in the lower tier of WTA events and the ITF pro circuit, Mari couldn’t sustain her tennis career, and thus retired at the age of 24 in 2021.

“I am retired from playing tennis. It was a journey which I didn’t enjoy ultimately, but I’m grateful for all the memories and support I’ve gained and received over the years from the sport. I’m moving on now so you can look forward to new fun projects upcoming in the future,” Mari said upon her retirement.

Naomi Osaka on Mari’s impact on her tennis career

Mari reached the highest ranking of 280 in singles. Her lack of success took the enjoyment out of the sport for her. Her sister, Naomi, has obviously reached the heights she might have imagined for herself. According to Naomi, Mari has played a huge role in taking her career to the top.

“She’s the reason why I started playing tennis. For me, that’s the biggest thing. I always told myself like if I was able to give back to my family and the way that they’ve given, like so many things up for me, that’s something that is the most important part. So, clearly, for me, I wouldn’t be here without my sister,” Osaka said.

Playing doubles together and being compared to Venus and Serena Williams

Back in the 2016 Toray Pan Pacific Open, the Osaka sisters had played doubles together. That was just two years before Naomi Osaka became a Grand Slam champion, but Mari’s career went downhill. Later Osaka recalled that back in their teens, it was Mari who would triumph over Osaka.

“Up until I was 15, she was 6-0ing me, like, ridiculous! I don’t know what happened – something finally clicked in my head – but for sure she was beating me. In the win-loss category, she’s still up by a million.”

Earlier, Osaka even said that Mari and she were compared to the iconic duo of Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Osaka had said: “As a kid, I was pretty lazy. I’m still kind of lazy right now. I was always chasing my sister. A lot of people compared us to Venus and Serena.”

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Naomi Osaka regarded her sister as her biggest rival. Despite the two sisters being polar opposites in terms of tennis success, Mari seems to be one of Osaka’s closest allies on her way forward.

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Bhavishya Mittal

951 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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