The 22-year-old didn't hesitate on continuing her tennis profession even though her younger sister went plowing through the sport. She'd get all kinds of awards and acknowledgement, but big sister wasn't known.
Things may start to transform for Mari Osaka, the older sister of Naomi Osaka as she was awarded a wild card to play at the Miami Open. Mari Osaka is ranked no. 338 and has tried feverishly to win a main draw match without much success.
It was five years ago she'd surfaced at the Bank of the West Classic but in dobles, pairing with Marina Shamayko. Luck wasn't with her then for they lost in the first round to Varvara Lepchencko and Ajla Tomljanovic.
The singles game wasn't going well either as she lost in a 'double bagel' match at the Newport Challenge in January, opposite Katie Volynets. This is the first time she'll appear at the Miami Open. Would her psyche be sparked up by playing the same tournament as her sister? Can she make a good run at Miami? The power of the wild card has been quite sharp lately.
The 18-year-old from Canada and the winner of Indian Wells, Bianca Andreescu was given the same powerful advantage and took it and ran. She also won the Oracle Challenge at Newport Beach at the beginning of the season. Andreescu was nearly speechless at Indian Wells, as she walked around the stadium upon her win and could say that "If you believe in yourself, anything is possible."
Mari Osaka may have two reasons for stepping up and exploding her talents. Firstly, she must be feeling that she can win at least a few matches. Secondly, others have went deep after just being a wild card player and has surprised not only the tennis community but themselves too.
Sisterly support will be waiting for her, along with spectators crowding the practice areas. They'll want to get a good look at Naomi Osaka's sister to see how well she hits or doesn't. But bringing her talents onto the court will be her goal and given the chance to let her racket do the talking.
The reasons why Mari Osaka was given a wild card is in the tournament director's hands. It might only take one match to give the tennis community something to talk about if she wins just one match. But at this point her racket has to do the talking for everyone to see and for herself to keep believing in some good things can come about under the Miami suns.