Naomi Osaka has recently released her self-titled Netflix docuseries, and giving us a rare glimpse into the 23-year-old tennis player's personal life. She shows off her relationship with rapper Cordae, and we also see her close bond with her older sister, Mari Osaka. Like Naomi, Mari is an experienced tennis player. The 25-year-old made her professional debut in 2014, then retired in early 2021.
While the two have shared the tennis court from time to time, including in a doubles match at the Pan Pacific Open in Japan in 2017, they are a close duo off the court as well. The sisters have shared some adorable snaps together on their Instagram accounts over the years, making them a Serena and Venus-like sisterhood that we can't help but to love.
With captions like, 'sister, sister" or, when speaking of Mari, lovingly referring to her as "the only person who can match my crazy, possibly exceed," their relationship has us swooning.
Additionally, Mari opens up about their bond in "Voices of a Champion," a featurette narrated by the older sister over throwback home videos and pictures of the two.
"We dreamed of being champions. Defying labels, courting excellence, each choosing victory over the other. Our parents organized our dreams and trained us to fulfill them. Their excellence reflecting in our character, in our discipline."
She continues, as footage of her playing against Naomi on the tennis court years ago.
"Play became serious and we learned as I schooled you. Me: accustomed to winning; you: saying you'd beat me tomorrow. The day you caught up to me something clicked in you, and that piece of your destiny became real. Each win builds a platform that we'll use to make impact, finding purpose on and off the court and opening ourselves up and cheering each other on. Parallel paths. Becoming the champions we need. We dreamed of being champions, Mari and Naomi."
Mari's love letter to Naomi comes three months after she announced her retirement from professional tennis in March, which she admits she didn't particularly love. She captioned a photo in a since-deleted Instagram post:
"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."
Happy birthday to my sister! 😩❤️🙌🎂🎉🎊🎁 https://t.co/UbpPHEMXmF— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ)1522775405.0
The siblings last competed against one another in March 2019 at the Miami Open.
That same month, the currently most powerful tennis star told The New York Times about growing up playing against Mari.
"Up until I was 15 she was 6-0-ing me, ridiculous. 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."
Where have we heard this story before?
Naomi Osaka is streaming on Netflix now.
Watch "Voices of a Champion," narrated by Mari below:
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Featured image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images