Who is Naomi Osaka’s father Leonard Francois?

Leonard Francois

If you are a fan of tennis then you must surely hear the name of the former number one female tennis player in the world. The player we are talking about is Naomi Osaka. She is a well-renowned player who has won four Grand Slam singles championships and is the first-ever Japanese tennis player to be ranked number 1. She is also the first-ever tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

However, we are going to talk about her father Leonard Francois in this article. Leonardo and his wife Tamaki Osaka did all they could to support and shape their daughters’ careers.  He trained his daughters to excel at tennis and create history by following the trajectory of greats like Serena Williams and beating her in an iconic manner.

If you are interested to learn about Leonard’s life, his love life, and how he trained his daughters, and what inspired him, then you are in the right place. You will be able to find everything you need to know about him in this article.

About Leonard Francois

Leonard Francois is from Jacmel, Haiti, and his full name is Leonard Maxime Francois. His parents were natives of Haiti and they didn’t how to speak English. He doesn’t speak a lot and some of the people who are close to him have described him as a taciturn man.

However, not much is known about his personal life, educational qualification, and family background. But some of the information that has been disclosed is that he celebrates his birthdate on December 1st and he had experienced some level of baseball during his early years.

It is speculated that he is 6 feet tall ( 182 cm) and he is in his late 40s. We will try our best to update this section as soon as possible if Leonardo or his family decides to reveal more about him in the future.

Current relationship status

Leonard Francois is currently in a marriage relationship with his wife Tamaki Osaka. They had met each other when Tamaki was in high school. At that time Leonard was also a college student from New York. After they met each other they quickly developed feelings for each other and formed a relationship.

Unfortunately, Tamaki’s parents disapproved of her relationship with Leonard which prompted their alienation. It was probably due to the sensation of separation in Japan-tracing back to the 1630s when the Tokugawa shogunate cut off the archipelago from the rest of the world.

At that time the place where she grew up, the sensation of separatism had cultivated for over a century and hadn’t been fully eclipsed yet. Tamaki has revealed that her father wanted to talk about omiai (the matchmaking process, a  formal affair, and often organized by family members).

But after her father found out about his daughter’s secret relationship with a black man, he became furious and cut her off from the family for bringing shame to the family. After that, she moved to the south of Osaka along with Leonard where they worked a lot.

His marriage with Tamaki Osaka

Leonardo and his wife Tamaki Osaka had to face a lot of problems after their marriage. It is still not known where and when she got married to Leonard Francois. But it is estimated that they had walked down the aisle in June.

His wife Tamaki made a tweet back in mid-June 2018 to commemorate the date of her wedding and the word “liberty”. She had uploaded three pictures one was of Leonard, the second was after the two met, and the last picture was of the younger version of Tamaki.

She also left a message above the pictures that read: “was ‘disgrace’ to the family, had been in the desert&jungles for decades, I’m still surviving.” It was followed by two emojis — a flexed arm and a red heart — and a hashtag: #HappyLovingDay.”

Together they have also welcomed their two daughters after they moved to Osaka. They welcomed their first daughter Mari on 3rd April 1996. While they welcomed their second daughter Naomi on 16th October 1997. Their family used to speak in Japanese when they were at home. Her mother would set them up kelp and rice-ball snacks for school and she would also dress her daughters in kimonos for global days.

He moved to Long Island with his family

Leonard and his wife Tamaki decided to move to Long Island when their youngest child was just 3 years old. He would teach his daughters to play tennis after being inspired by the story of Richard Williams (the father of Venus and Serena Williams).

In 2006, the whole family moved to southern Florida to focus their daughters’ careers on tennis. The couple had decided to home-school their children. Both of the parents focused on their daughters and trained them most of the day in the Pembroke Pines public courts.

Naomi went on to become one of the greatest female tennis in history whereas her sister wasn’t much fortunate. She had to retire early because of the several injuries she faced throughout her career and she decided to quit playing in March 2021. Mari took to Instagram to announce her announcement.

She captioned the post, “I am retired from playing tennis,”. In the post, she wrote, “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.”

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to view her post as she has already removed it from her Instagram account.

Why his daughters didn’t have his surname?

Naomi and her older sister Mari have been familiar with their Asian heritage since their childhoods they lived in Japan when they were young. Both of them even decided to keep their mother’s surname as their own instead of their father’s surname. Their surname “Osaka” is a Japanese surname and it is also the name of the city where they were born.

Actually, it was their parents’ decision so that it would have become easier for their children to get enrolled in schools and rent apartments. But instead of Japan, their daughter earned names in America and their name would become a constant reminder of their homeland that they would one day represent.

But there is more to the story which has already been explained in detail in one of the articles from our writer. You can click the link below to know why Naomi used her mother’s last name.

link: Why Does Naomi Osaka Use Her Mother’s Last Name?

He trained his daughters

As mentioned earlier, he was inspired by the story of William’s sister’s father Richard Williams. Richard William also used to train his own daughters and he made his daughters become two of the best female players in the world.

Apparently, Leonard had watched the Williams sisters take part at the 1999 French Open and was inspired by them. At that time Venus and Serena Williams had teamed up to win the doubles titles that year at a very young age of just 18 and 17 respectively.

After being inspired, he relocated to Long Island and started to train his daughters. Naomi was just 3 years old when she received training from her father. He was able to train his daughters as he got access to free public courts and gyms. Leonard and his wife Tamaki had made the right decision to move to Long island as he got to initiate all his plans to train his daughter.

He had learned to train his daughter with the help of instructional books and DVDs and he made his daughter hit hundreds of balls per day slowly increasing to thousands.

He and his wife decided to let Naomi represent Japan

Leonard and his wife Tamaki had decided that their children would represent Japan because even though they grew up in America they were born in Japan and they were brought up in a household of Japanese and Haitian culture.

In an interview, Leonard and his wife told, “We made the decision that Naomi would represent Japan at an early age. She was born in Osaka and was brought up in a household of Japanese and Haitian culture.”

As per Naomi Osaka, she did not get any help from the US government and it was a very frustrating moment. This can also be the reason she is better happy with her mother’s surname.

On her practice days, she also asked for help from the Tennis Association of USA to help her with funding and to kick her career but sadly, there was no help from the association side. The main reason for her proposal refusal is that she is not a USA citizen and she was very young.

Naomi and Mari had always felt Japanese and that was their rationale. Both sisters are very close to their mother and both of them love Japanese culture very much.

His daughter is the highest-paid female tennis player

His daughter Naomi is still one of the highest-paid female players in tennis. Naomi was even ranked among the world’s top-five highest-paid tennis players(men and women)  according to Forbes. Forbes had announced its yearly ranking of the most earning tennis player in August 2021. And in the list, some athletes earned more money off the court than on it.

When she was ranked number 3, she even outranked the likes of Serena Williams as the highest-paid female athlete in the world in 2020. In 2020, she was ranked number eight among all athletes in endorsement income. She is one of the most marketable players in the world.  With an income of USD 5.1 million on the court and USD 55 million off the court she was only behind the Swiss international, Roger Federer who had earned USD 90 million alone off the court in the year 2020.

Naomi has a deal with various world-renowned brands like Nike, Barbie, Nissan, Sweetgreen, and many more. Besides that, she is also a social media personality. She has over 2.8 million followers on her Instagram account and over 1.1 million followers on her Twitter account. You can click the link below to go to her respective social media handles.

Instagram: @naomiosaka

Twitter: @naomiosaka

Where is he now?

Currently, he is happily living with his wife Tamaki Osaka in Long Island. Luckily, his relationship with her husband and daughters is as strong as ever. However, we don’t know about her recent occupation and income in the present.

But he must be living a quiet happy and wonderful life with his family as both of his daughters have managed to earn fame and money through their careers. It is suspected that he still serves some managerial purposes to her daughter Naomi along with his wife.

He still follows his daughters’ training and watches over her. But his daughter Naomi think that her father couldn’t handle it. Later, she spoke about her father and said, “He’s always there, you know. But I don’t think he can handle it.” It might be because he rarely watches Naomi playing and limits himself to glimpses on the television feed.

She also feels that her father doesn’t want to watch her games as it stresses him out. Naomi also said that her father takes the coaching role very seriously, but it’s a long-term thing for him.

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