Naomi Osaka’s sister, Mari, has thanked her for saving her life “in ways she doesn’t even know.”
Mari is the older sister of the four-time Grand Slam champion and is a former professional tennis player herself.
However, Mari failed to ever break into the world’s top 250 and retired in March last year.
In a heartfelt Instagram post, the 26-year-old thanked Naomi for all her support and for helping her find work outside of tennis.
What did Mari say?
Mari, who has almost 60,000 followers on Instagram shared a photo of herself and Naomi, alongside a caption.
“Special post for my sister Naomi,” it read. “Without her, this would have been absolutely impossible. The support she’s given me after I quit tennis [has been amazing] ––I was literally a struggling artist.
“She got me the jobs I needed to be able to stand by myself. Tennis had put me into debt with travelling and coach expenses [and] I was not successful enough to support myself or my dreams. She has literally saved my life in ways she doesn’t know.
“Every time the media paints her in an evil light, it’s the furthest from the truth. I want to shout it to the world because it makes me so pi**ed off. You’re the most giving person I know and honestly, I really would like you to stop giving and take care of yourself more.
“I can take care of myself now, I hope you can see that. Thank you, Naomi, I love you. I hope you guys can cheer her on at [the] US Open this year.”
Who is Mari Osaka?
Osaka made her WTA Tour debut back in 2014 at the Bank of the West Classic –– partnering with Marina Shamayko.
Her WTA singles debut came in 2019 when she received a wildcard to play in the Miami Open. However, she lost to Whitney Osuigwe in the opening round.
In early 2021, she announced her retirement from professional tennis –– finishing with a singles record of 196 wins and 162 losses.
Mari Osaka, sister of Naomi, announces on IG that she has retired from 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…"— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) March 9, 2021
Osaka, 24, reached a career high of 280 in 2018.
Since retiring, she has turned to a career in the fashion industry and helped design Naomi’s met-gala dress in 2021.
Mari also helped make custom COVID masks for UNICEF in 2020.
Mari Osaka on the inspiration behind Naomi’s Met Gala look. pic.twitter.com/JKJy5CJu8m— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 14, 2021
Can Naomi Osaka win the US Open?
Osaka is a two-time champion in New York and has plenty of experience when it comes to winning major tournaments.
However, her last success at a Slam came at the Australian Open in 2021 and she has struggled ever since.
Osaka is not seeded for this year’s US Open competition and faces US star Danielle Collins in the opening round.
There is a chance the 24-year-old could play reigning champion Emma Raducanu in the third round. The two have never played each other before and it would certainly make for mouth-watering viewing.