Naomi Osaka defeated Jennifer Brady in February, winning her second Australian Open. She celebrated by dying her hair pink and sparking praise from many people. Meanwhile, fans began trying to learn all they could about the two people that raised a champion. Here is everything to know about Leonard Francois and Tamaki Osaka.
Francois and Tamaki hail from different parts of the world. He is from Haiti while she is from Japan. The couple originally met in Japan when Tamaki was in high school and Francois was in college. They dated for years while keeping the relationship secret. However, Tamaki's family learned of the relationship and cut off communication for more than a decade while she and Francois moved to Osaka. However, they reconnected in 2008.
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Osaka was born on Oct. 16, 1997, in Osaka, Japan. She and her family lived there until she was the age of 3. The family then moved to Long Island, New York. Osaka’s parents made the decision in 2006 to move to Florida in order to help out her tennis career.
Francois technically didn't have any tennis experience, but he drew inspiration from Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena. He began following the "blueprint" and began coaching his daughters in the sport. Despite the lack of formal tennis experiences, Francois watched videos and had his daughters hit thousands of balls a day while Tamaki handled the finances.
"My mum sacrificed a lot, We would go to tournaments and she would stay at home and work because someone had to pay for the flights and stuff," Osaka said, per Players Bio. "I’m very grateful for everything she’s done and I can only hope that what I’m doing now can repay her in some way."
With Osaka pursuing a professional career, her parents had to make a difficult choice. They needed to decide whether to have them represent the United States or Japan. According to Essentially Sports, Francois and Tamaki mutually agreed to have their daughters — Osaka and Mari — represent Japan.0comments
As Osaka grew older and became a force in the sport, she partnered with a professional coach to help her achieve greatness. Though she did join forces with her father once again in 2019. Osaka parted ways with her coach Jermaine Jenkins, so Francois temporarily stepped in as she sought another professional coach.
"Yeah, he’s so annoying. Oh, my God," Osaka joked at the time. "Do you hear his on-court coaching? I can’t believe it. He runs up to the bench talking about, Be calm. That’s it. He doesn’t give me any tactics. I can’t believe this. I was so mad." Osaka explained at the time that she needed some structure in her training, leading to her adding Wim Fissette to her team in 2020.