Naomi Osaka at centre of shock split ahead of US Open: 'Next chapter'

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·Sports Reporter
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Naomi Osaka is pictured with former coach Wim Frissette on the left, and during the French Open on the right.
Naomi Osaka has stunned tennis observers by parting ways with her coach, Wim Fissette, who helped her to two of her four grand slam titles. Pictures: Instagram/Getty Images

Naomi Osaka has stunned the tennis world by parting ways with coach Wim Fissette just over a month before the US Open is set to get underway.

The Belgian coach had been working with the former World No.1 since 2019.

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Osaka won the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open with the coaching of Fissette, who had previously mentored the likes of Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep.

The 24-year-old is recovering from an achilles injury she picked up at the French Open earlier this year, but is continuing to prepare for the US Open, which begins in late August.

Fissette took to Instagram to announce the pair would no longer be working together, thanking Osaka for her efforts.

"It has been a privilege to coach Naomi since 2019 and see her grow into the champion she has become," the 40-year-old wrote on Instagram.

"She has inspired a whole new generation to fall in love with the game & to speak up for what they believe in and it's been incredible to play a part in that journey.

"Thank you @naomiosaka I wish you all the best and looking forward to my next chapter."

Osaka has yet to comment on the end of the partnership.

Since winning her fourth major in Melbourne last year, Osaka - the world's biggest earning female sports star - had endured a rollercoaster career.

She withdrew from the 2021 French Open after refusing to take part in mandatory media commitments and revealed she had been battling long-term depression.

The former World No.1 has slipped to 84 in the rankings and hasn't played since a first round exit at the French Open in May, but has taken a wildcard for the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose this month.

Naomi Osaka gearing up for hardcourt swing

While the split between player and coach took the tennis world by surprise, fans had been thrilled earlier in the week when Osaka revealed her full schedule leading up to the US Open.

While Osaka didn't play at Wimbledon, her rehabilitation in recent weeks seems to have gone well with the four-time grand slam champ entering into the first hard court tournament in San Jose.

She is also expected to compete at the Canadian Open.

The Silicon Valley Classic will boast a strong field of stars with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, World No.5 Ons Jabeur, American star Coco Gauff and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu all entered.

Incredibly, Osaka made her WTA main card debut at the Silicon Valley Classic.

Naomi Osaka fires back a shot at the French Open.
Having skipped Wimbledon to focus on recovering from an achilles injury, Naomi Osaka looks set to return for the US hardcourt swing. (Photo by Tnani Badreddine/DeFodi Images via Getty Images )

Osaka was ranked World No.406 when she made her qualification appearance at the age of 16.

She advanced to the main draw where she defeated Aussie Sam Stosur in what would have been a memorable victory in her first match.

In other big news for the WTA Tour, organisers of the Canadian Open event confirmed Serena Williams' participation on Thursday as the 23-time grand slam champion continues her comeback.

The 40-year-old ended a 12-month absence from the tour when she played at Wimbledon earlier this month, losing in the first round to Harmony Tan.

With AFP

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