Mari Osaka retires from tennis at 24

Mari Osaka, elder sister of four-time major champion Naomi Osaka, announced retirement from the game

Mari Osaka (right), Naomi Osaka's elder sister, announced retirement from the game

Mari Osaka, the elder sister of four-time major-winner Naomi Osaka, has retired from tennis at the age of 24, saying “it was a journey which I didn’t enjoy”.

The elder Osaka was ranked 340th in the world, having reached a career-high of 280th in 2018, and last played a singles tournament in January.

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She partnered in doubles with her sister Naomi, who is 18 months younger, ranked second in the world and the reigning US and Australian Open champion, at the 2017 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

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

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“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.”

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Osaka’s father was inspired by the success of the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, and used it as a blueprint for his daughter. Mari had a big role to play in Osaka’s career.

“Up until I was 15, she was 6-0ing me, like ridiculous,” Naomi was quoted as saying by the WTA Tour website.

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

Mari mainly played on the ITF Pro Circuit but joined her sister in the WTA main draw at the Miami Open in 2019. She gave a different take on their earlier matches, however.

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“Sometimes I think she was throwing the matches on purpose just so that we could finish practice quicker,” she said. “So the moment she started trying, I was getting pissed off.”

Naomi Osaka claimed her fourth Grand Slam title when she beat American Jennifer Brady in the Australian Open final last month.