Naomi Osaka's beautiful family gesture upon tennis return

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Naomi Osaka (pictured left) pointing out father during an interview and (pictured right) Osaka's father Leonard Francois in the crowd.
Naomi Osaka (pictured left) took the time after her Silicon Valley Classic match to thank her father, Leonard Francois (pictured right), after he rejoined her coaching team. (Images: WTA)

Naomi Osaka enjoyed a strong start to the Silicon Valley Classic having advanced past the first round and the former World No.1 took time to thank her father who has recently joined her coaching team.

The four-time grand slam winner decided to skip Wimbledon after sustaining an achilles injury she picked up at the French Open earlier this year.

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Since then, Osaka parted ways with her long-term coach Wim Fissette who was with the former World No.1 since 2018.

Osaka then opted to bring back her father, Leonard Francois, back into her team.

Francois was her primary coach until 2019.

And Osaka made her return to tennis at the Silicon Valley Classic where she defeated Qinwen Zheng in the Round of 32.

Osaka was forced to battle in the second set when Qinwen levelled the match, but was too good taking the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

And in her post-match interview, Osaka made a beautiful gesture to her father.

"He is right there...he hasn't been around for a little minute and this is our first tournament back together," Osaka said after pointing him out.

"It's really good for him to be back because he always makes me smile."

Osaka finished with a story about her father and why it is important for him to be back on the WTA Tour with her.

"He is always telling me, 'You are a tennis player, play tennis,' but I know that," she said with a laugh.

"It's really good for him to be back, so I am really happy."

In the next round, Osaka will take on American sensation Coco Gauff.

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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.

"It was really good times with Wim and he's a really amazing coach," Osaka told reporters.

"He's a very ambitious guy. I was getting injured and I'm sure he would have wanted to go to Wimbledon.

"So it was two different mindsets, I would say. But he's a really cool guy still."

Osaka's father, Francois, previously served as her primary coach until the 2018 season.

"I wanted to bring my dad back because he always makes me think outside the box," added the former world number one.

"Whenever I think something is really bad he always makes me realise that things are much more positive than they seem. When I get stressed out he starts dancing or something to make me feel better."

with Reuters

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