“It Was Really Sad to See Her” – Coach Wim Fissette Reveals Adverse Effects on Naomi Osaka During Kobe Bryant’s Death

Published 07/22/2021, 4:58 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Naomi Osaka of Japan speaks to media following her Women’s Singles third round defeat to Coco Gauff of the United States of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)


Last week, Naomi Osaka made her on-screen debut with her self-titled Netflix original docuseries. The Japanese star left fans on the edge of their seats with her gripping narration, taking a deeper dive into her life.

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The story travels through the off-court happenings of Naomi’s life, as she unravels the different struggles she faces. From issues of fame and fandom to coping with the death of her idol, Kobe Bryant, the series is best described as an insightful, emotional, roller-coaster ride.

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Throughout the series, Naomi often documents her daily shenanigans. However, in the second episode, fans witnessed the humane side of the global celebrity.

In a heartbreaking moment, Naomi records herself as she received the unfortunate news of Bryant’s death. Speaking of the same, her then-newly appointed coach, Wim Fissette, discloses how devastated Naomi was. “The way she grieved, she was very, very sad for a while,” Wim said.

“It was very sad to see her”- Wim Fissette

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant lost their lives last year in an unfortunate helicopter crash. The news came as a shock and it broke hearts all around the world.

However, Naomi shared a special relationship with Kobe, as she grew up watching him play and tried to continue his legacy on-court. The two also met at the US Open as one often mentored the other. Hence, his loss felt extremely personal to her.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis Training – Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan – July 19, 2021 Naomi Osaka of Japan during training REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

The death of Kobe was a real thing that upset her. Obviously, they were close,” said Wim.

Wim mentioned how mentally disturbed Naomi was after the death of Kobe, so much so that it even showed on-court. “What happened in Spain, she was there in body, but she wasn’t there in spirit,” Wim said.

 

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It was only recently then, that Wim had been appointed as Naomi’s coach. Because of the same, the two were yet to build a personal relationship that would help them communicate freely. Hence, such an experience with his prodigy was also very new and difficult for him.

Wim said, “I obviously did not have experience of what Naomi would be like after a loss. But speaking to her team, they told me, like ‘Wim, don’t even try.’

“She is not open to speak about it. Like, you have to give her some room right now. It was really so tough because as a coach you want to go speak to her, ask her, tell her things, just to help her because she was like.. ..Ya it was really tough. It was very sad to see her,” he added.

Naomi Osaka returns to court

After over a month-long break, Osaka is finally returning to the court; the Japanese national is set to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, making her first appearance in the tournament. All eyes will turn to her as she makes a comeback into the sport after withdrawing from the French Open and the 2021 Wimbledon Championship.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Feeling Like I Let Him Down”: Naomi Osaka Opens Up on Idol Kobe Bryant’s Death in Her Netflix Documentary

9 days ago

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis Training – Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan – July 19, 2021 Naomi Osaka of Japan during training REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

The World No. 2 will look to make a remarkable return, going for gold with all she has. However, the journey to the Olympic medal is far from easy as she joined by the likes of Wimbledon Champion, Ashleigh Barty, and many more. Regardless, fans will be delighted to see the finally see the youngster in action, in good health, and in dominant form.

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Watch this storyNaomi Osaka’s Best Moments at Australian Open 2021: From Saving Match Points to Lifting the Title

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Melroy Fernandes

102 articles

Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.

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