Who is Mari Osaka?
Mari Osaka is a professional tennis player who plays for Japan. Her mother is Japanese, while her father is Haitian. She and her sister, Naomi Osaka, have been compared to Serena and Venus Williams in the global tennis arena. She made her ‘Woman’s Tennis Association’ (WTA) debut at the ‘Bank of the West Classic’ professional tournament, partnering with Marina Shamayko, when she was 18 years old. Although she has not won a tournament yet, she has been the runner-up on four occasions. While her career in tennis slowed down due to injuries, her sister made it to ‘Wimbledon’ and also defeated Serena Williams at the ‘Miami Open.’ The Osaka sisters played against the pair of Makoto Ninomiya and Renata Voracova in the women’s doubles of the ‘Toray Pan Pacific Open’ tournament’ at ‘Ariake Coliseum’ in Tokyo, Japan. Her ‘WTA’ singles career-highest ranking is 289 and her doubles career-highest ranking is 907. Although she currently stays in Florida with her family, she does not consider herself American. Besides taking the tennis world by storm, Mari and her sister are both active on social media. She is in the prime of her youth and has a bright future ahead of her.
Childhood & Early Life
Mari Osaka was born on April 3, 1996, in Osaka, Japan. Her mother is Japanese, while her father is Haitian. Her family moved to the US when she was 4 years old. She grew up with her younger sister, Naomi Osaka, in Fort Lauderdale in the state of Florida, US. She completed her basic education from ‘Elmont Alden Terrace Primary School.’
Mari is a year older than Naomi. She speaks English and Japanese and holds citizenships of both the US and Japan. She adopted the surname of her mother, Tamaki Osaka, because she spent her initial days in Japan. She and her sister both represent Japan because funding was easier in Japan when they took up the sport.
Both sisters were interested in outdoors and grew up to become professional tennis players. Their father was the motivational force behind their dreams. After graduating from ‘Broward Virtual Middle High School,’ the sisters enrolled at the ‘Florida Tennis SBT Academy’ and the ‘ProWorld Tennis Academy’ to take up the game professionally. Their father became their official coach.
Currently, Mari and Naomi are said to be following in the footsteps Serena and Venus Williams in the world of tennis. Even their father, Leonard François, considers Richard Williams as an idol for coaching his daughters. He has followed the principles of the father of the Williams sisters to train his two daughters.
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Mari Osaka made her ‘WTA’ debut in 2014 at the ‘Bank of the West Classic’ professional tournament, partnering with Marina Shamayko from Russia. They lost in the first round, to Varvara Lepchenko and Ajla Tomljanović. However, the exposure gave her tremendous confidence. Her younger sister, Naomi, began her professional tennis career the same year.
The Osaka sisters are very close to each other and have often partnered with each other. They played against the pair of Makoto Ninomiya of Japan and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic in the women’s doubles of the ‘Toray Pan Pacific Open’ tournament at ‘Ariake Coliseum’ in Tokyo, Japan. Fans were thrilled to see the sisters play together.
While Naomi’s tennis career made good progress, Mari’s career was hampered due to repeated injuries. Nonetheless, she has been a four-time runner-up in the singles finals of major tours, namely, the Amelia Island tour (US) in 2012, the Goyang tour (South Korea) in 2017, the Denain tour (France) in 2017, and the Florence tour (US) in 2018.
At 22, Mari is still in the prime of her career. Her father and younger sister are the motivating factors behind her game. She has the potential to make a name for herself in the professional circuit of world tennis in the future.
She has been the runner-up at Amelia Island, US, in September 2012; at Goyang, South Korea, in May 2017; at Denain, France, in July 2017; and at Florence, US, in October 2018.
Her ‘WTA’ singles career-highest ranking is 289 and her doubles career-highest ranking is 907.
Alhough she currently stays in Florida with her family, she does not consider herself American. She plays for Japan and also identifies with her father’s homeland, Haiti. People are often taken aback when they see a black girl with a Japanese name.
Besides taking the tennis world by storm, Mari and her sister are both active on social media. They have a large fan following. She attributes her success to her father and her sister.
Mari is yet to get into a serious relationship with anyone. She is currently believed to be single. She is focusing on improving her tennis ranking to match that of her sister’s.
Her ‘WTA’ singles career-highest ranking was 289 in April 2018 and her doubles career-highest ranking was 907 in April 2017. Her sister is ranked 5th in the singles and 324th in the doubles ‘WTA’ ranking.
She is a right-handed (two-handed backhand) player.
Her younger sister, Naomi, has always wanted to beat her elder sister on the tennis court. Naomi refers to her as her best friend and her worst enemy. Naomi has the distinction of playing the ‘Wimbledon’ tournament in 2018. She has also played against Serena Williams and has defeated her at the ‘Miami Open’ in March 2018.
Her mother’s relationship with her father was opposed by her grandparents from her mother’s side because her father was black. Due to this reason, Mari had no interaction with her grandparents for the first 10 years of her life.