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Mari Osaka retires at 24

Mari, Naomi Osaka’s older sister, has retired from tennis at the age of 24, having admitted that she no longer enjoys the game.

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 Osaka

While Naomi has become the most successful female athlete in the world after winning 4 Grand Slam titles, Mari has been experiencing a much tougher road and will not focus on other projects.

She made her WTA singles debut when she was handed a wild card at the Miami Open in March 2019, before going out to Whitney Osuigwe, 6-2 6-4, in the first round.

Currently ranked 340 in the WTA rankings, Maria has been predominantly playing her tennis on the ITF circuit but has only competed in one match this year, falling to Sarah Hamner in the first round of qualifying in straight sets in Georgia, USA on 25 January.

“I am retired from playing tennis,” she wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Her sister Naomi spoke of the importance of Mari’s support for her own tennis career last month.

“For me, that’s the biggest thing,” the World No 2 told reporters at the Australian Open.

“I always told myself, if I was able to give back to my family and the way that they’ve given so many things up for me, that’s something that is the most important part.”

Naomi has said that Mari used to thrash her in practice matches when they were younger.

“Up until I was 15 she was 6-0-ing me, ridiculous,” Naomi told the New York Times in 2019.

“I don’t know what happened, maybe finally something clicked in my head, but for sure she was beating me. In the win-loss record, she’s up by like a million or something.”

Mari was ranked as high as No 280 in the world in the spring of 2018 and in March 2019, the sisters competed in the Miami Open, marking the first time at a WTA-level event that the two were both in the main draw.

“For me it would be a dream,” Naomi told The New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg in 2019 about potentially playing in more events together. “Because I don’t really talk to that many people, and she’s the nicer one in this relationship. It would definitely mean a lot.”

As Naomi’s trajectory soared, winning the Australian Open last month for the 4th major title of her career, Mari’s career stalled.


Naomi Osaka (L) and Mari Osaka played doubles together at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan in 2017

© Koji Watanabe/Getty Images




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