Who Is Naomi Osaka’s Father?

Published 04/14/2021, 5:33 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her first round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Naomi Osaka’s progress has been one of the most noted journeys in recent years. At the age of 23, the Japanese player is the proud winner of four Grand Slam titles, and she began her season on a positive note by winning the Australian Open. Over the years, Naomi Osaka has proved to be a real force in the women’s game. 

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Naomi Osaka’s association with the sport started when she was introduced to tennis by her father, Leonard Francois. He was born in Jacmel, a port town on the south coast of Haiti. Leonard met Naomi’s mother in Hokkaido, an island in the north of Japan. At that time, he was still a college-going student in New York. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Naomi Osaka’s father was inspired by the William sisters’ story

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When Naomi was young, her parents moved to New York to live with her father’s parents. It was at that point that Leonard came to be inspired by Richard Williams, Serena and Venus Williams’ father. Francois decided to follow suit and teach his kids tennis as well. 

Although he had very little experience from a player’s point of view, he still managed to help his daughter become one of the best players in the sport. When Naomi turned around nine, she moved to Florida along with her parents to search for better opportunities to make further progress in her career. 

Even though Osaka spent most of her childhood in the United States of America, it was decided at an early age that she would represent Japan. Looking back at her story, one can say that Leonard has played a huge role in grooming his daughter’s career, both on the court and off it too. 

Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand against Elise Mertens of Belgium (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Naomi Osaka’s sister retired from tennis this year

Naomi has an elder sister named Mari Osaka, and she made her debut at the 2019 Miami Open. However, she decided to end her tennis career and called it a day on March 9, 2021. In the past, Naomi has stated that she and her sister were inspired by the William sisters. The 23-year-old also credited her sister for supporting her in tough times. 

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After being surrounded by such helpful and positive minds, her family’s support has been an added advantage to Naomi’s ongoing dominance in the sport. She also continues to acknowledge their contribution to her success.

At the moment, the focus of the season has shifted towards the clay courts and it will be interesting to see how the Japanese starlet performs on the surface in the coming days.

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Rohan Kollare

611 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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