Leonard Francois is the father of World Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka, a tennis coach who also helped her daughter excel at the game. He is a super-supportive father and a loving husband who married a Japanese woman. Naomi is now among the highest-paid female athletes worldwide.
Apart from being caring, it would be safe to say that Leonard guided his daughters into the World of Tennis.
It is more commendable, thinking about how he knew nothing about the sport himself.
Besides being the ideal father for his daughters, there is much more story to his life, such as his personal life, especially his married life.
Leonard is married to Tamaki Osaka, a Japanese native he met in college in the early 1990s.
In this article, we will talk more about him and his life as a young prodigy’s father.
Leonard Francois | Quick Facts
|Leonard Maxime Francois
|6 feet (1.83 m)
|Net Worth (Naomi Osaka)
|$60 Million per year (highest)
|Father of Naomi Osaka
|Merch of Naomi Osaka
|Posters, Barbie Doll
Where is Leonard Francois From? | Early Life and Educational Background
Who does not know Naomi Osaka? The young girl from Japan defeated Serena Williams and won the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020. With her win, Osaka stirred the Tennis world and the media.
One of the people responsible for her win was her father, Leonard Francois, whom we will discuss later. Talking about Leonard was born in the small city of Jacmel, Haiti.
Haitian by nationality and with African ethnicity, young Francois moved to New York City, the United States of America, for studies.
Sadly, no information regarding college or anything brings his early childhood to light.
Similarly, the names and whereabouts of his parents and siblings are also unknown.
Age and Height | How Old is Leonard Francois?
Leonard has not only kept the information on his early life a secret, but his birthdate is also something unknown by the media.
It is just an assumption, but the father figure was born around the 1980s, which probably means he is in his 40s.
Because of the lack of an exact date, Francois’s zodiac sign is also a mystery to us. And Leonard certainly is not the one to open his mouth unnecessarily.
Likewise, Leonard has dark brown eyes and short black hair. His fit and healthy physique stand at 1.83 m (approx.), while his weight and other measurements are unknown.
Leonard Francois | Personal Life, Wife, and Children
Leonard Francois did not have an easy life, especially regarding his marriage with Tamaki Osaka, the love of his life.
During the early 1990s, Japan allowed the first wave of foreigners into their country. Among them, Leonard, a college student, visited Japan.
Luckily, he met his wife, Tamaki, in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan.
Unlike him, Tamaki grew up in a conservative environment where biracial relationships were not allowed.
At that time, Japan was strict about racial purity, and most children grew up learning those ideologies.
Similarly, Nemuro, where Tamaki was born, remained faithful to Tokugawa’s decree and maintained a racially pure Japan.
However, Osaka was a bright student, and all her perceptions changed once she entered high school.
Because of it, Tamaki was more accepting of Leonard’s approach than other girls at her time.
Are Naomi Osaka’s Parents Together?
Because of Japan’s culture at that time, Tamaki and Leonard had to hide their relationship in its early phase.
Considering how racism against people of color is still prevalent in most parts, we can only imagine the situation back then.
However, when the time for Tamaki’s marriage came, she just exposed her relationship with Francois.
As expected, things did not go well with her family, mainly her father, who accused Osaka of tarnishing their family name.
Despite all the commotion, the two stuck together, secretly married, and then moved to Osaka.
Shortly after, the couple gave birth to their two daughters, Mari and Naomi, who are only 18 months apart.
In hindsight, Leonards’s wife, Tamaki’s family, isolated her for more than 15 years.
The two families did not reunite until 2008, when they returned to Japan.
Because of the Japanese Family Registration Law (Koseki), the sisters adopted their mother’s name.
The Osaka family stayed in Japan for a few years before moving back to the states.
Leonard Francois Taught Mari and Naomi to Play Tennis
People may not know this, but Mari and Naomi did not start Tennis as a hobby. Their father, Leonard Francois, led them to Tennis and even taught them how.
It is funny when you consider Francois was neither a Tennis player nor had coached before.
In fact, the idea grew on him one random night in 1999 when he saw the Williams sisters dominating the French Open.
After witnessing the act, he was inspired to make his daughters virtually undefeated like the Williams sisters.
However, he knew nothing about competitive sports. Hence, he resorted to one place he knew best; the Williams sisters.
In the hope of making other Tennis stars like the Williams sisters, Francois began coaching his two young daughters.
Likewise, in 2001, the whole family moved to New York, and slowly, his plan took action.
After teaching them the basics, Leonard’s family again moved to Florida so that his daughters could have better opportunities. And luckily, his plan and dedication paid off in the end.
Leonard Francois | Homeschooling His Daughters
With the sole purpose of making his daughters into a Tennis power duo, Leonard spent his whole time with them.
While his wife supported the family financially, Francois’s only focus was to make them strong and undefeated.
Because of it, Leonard homeschooled his daughters rather than sending them to an American high school.
He did not want anything to hinder their Tennis practice while also maintaining their academics.
According to Leonard, this is one of the many ideas he adopted from Richard Williams’ training blueprint.
How Much is Naomi Osaka Worth?
The father of the former World Champion, Naomi Osaka, Leonard, has not disclosed his income.
Since childhood, Francois acted as her coach and worked with her until recently.
Not to mention, Naomi said his father worries about her matches too much. She said,
“I think he might take long walks because maybe my matches stress him out.”
To this, Naomi added,
“When I was growing up my mum always worked, my mother was working a lot because my dad was always with us. He was the one who was our coach.”
Meanwhile, the current number 10, Naomi, has an astounding net worth of more than $60 million.
Also, she earned around $60 million in a year, making her the highest-paid female athlete in Tennis.
Leonard Francois Wanted His Daughters to Represent Japan
Among many other things, the Osaka sisters are mostly bombarded with questions regarding their ethnicity.
Along with that, another issue that raised eyebrows was their decision to represent Japan in international games.
But unlike what people think, Tamaki and Leonard have been sure about this issue. They have wanted their daughters to play for Japan since their childhood.
In a simple sense, the girls are closer to their Japanese life than their western life. They have their friends and family there that love them and support them.
Another factor that solidified this decision was the lack of support from the United States. Since Mari and Naomi were still amateurs, the Tennis Association of the U.S. refused to support them at all.
Moreover, Naomi has expressed how she felt more Japanese than American.
“My dad thought that since I grew up around my mom and I have a lot of Japanese relatives… I don’t know… I don’t necessarily feel like I’m American. And I wouldn’t know what that feels like.”
According to Japanese law, Naomi Osaka gave up her American citizenship right after she turned 22.
Leonard Francois | Social Media Presence
The father of star player Naomi Osaka is currently not active on any social media.
Leonard Francois | Popularity
Being the father of Naomi, Leonard is a searched name worldwide among tennis fans and sports enthusiasts.
The above graph shows the google search volume over the internet in the past three months.
Leonard Francois | FAQs
What does Leonard Francois do for a living?
The father of the world-renowned tennis player is a tennis coach. Moreover, he taught his daughters the sport from a young age.
Is Naomi Osaka black?
Yes, she is half black, as her father is from Haiti.
Does Naomi Osaka have siblings?
Yes, she has an older sister named Mari Osaka.
Does Naomi Osaka speak French or Creole?
Summing up, Naomi speaks three languages – English, Japanese, and Haitian Creole- and rated her fluency in each, with English being the language she’s most comfortable in.