They say ‘one should always love like a mother and care like a father.’ While it may not match with all people, Leonard Francois is someone who fits this description perfectly. Who can miss the father of World Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka, right?
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.
Well, aside from being the ideal father for his daughters, there is much more story to his life, such as his personal life, especially his married life. In this article, we will be talking more about him and his life as a father of a young prodigy.
Leonard Francois: Quick Facts
|Full Name||Leonard Maxime Francois|
|Birth Place||Jacmel, Haiti|
|Shoe Size||Updating Soon|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Net Worth||Under Review|
|Famous As||Father of Naomi Osaka|
Where is Leonard Francois From?- Early Life and Education
Who does not know Naomi Osaka? The young girl from Japan who defeated Serena Williams and won the title of US Open back in 2018. With her win, Osaka stirred not only the Tennis world but also the media.
One of the people responsible for her win was her father, Leonard Francois, about which we will talk in detail later on. Talking about Leonard, he 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, there is no information regarding the college or anything that brings his early childhood to light.
Similarly, the names and whereabouts of his parents and siblings are also unknown at the moment.
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.
Due to the lack of exact date, Francois’s zodiac sign is also a thing of 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. He has got a fit and healthy physique that stands at 6 feet(approx.) while his weight and other measurements are unknown.
Personal Life – Wife and Children
Leonard Francois did not have an easy life, especially when it comes to 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, there in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan. Unlike him, Tamaki grew up in a conservative environment where the biracial relationship was not allowed.
Japan, at that time, was strict about racial purity, and most of the children grew up learning with those ideologies. Similarly, Nemuro, the town where Tamaki was born, remained faithful to Tokugawa’s decree and maintained the racially pure Japan.
However, Osaka was a bright student, and all her perception changed once she entered high school. Because of it, Tamaki was more accepting of Leonard’s approach compared to other girls at her time.
Are Naomi Osaka’s Parents Together?
Because of the principle Japan had 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 marry, 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-family 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. It was their father, Leonard Francois, who 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. Upon witnessing the act, he, too, got 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. Leonard followed the blueprint and training regime of Richard Williams, also known as the father of Serena and Venus Williams.
In the hope of making another Tennis like 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 can have better opportunities. And luckily, his plan and dedication paid off in the end.
Leonard Francois Homeschooled His Daughters
With the sole purpose of making his daughters into 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 undetectable.
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?
Father of the former World Champion, Naomi Osaka, Leonard, has not disclosed his income at all. Since her childhood, Francois acted as the 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 $8 million. Also, she earns around $2 million per year.
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 the eyebrows was their decision to represent Japan in international games.
But unlike what people think, Tamaki and Leanord 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, 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 US 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.”
Not to mention, according to Japanese law, Naomi Osaka gave up her American citizenship right after she turned 22.
The father of star player, Naomi Osaka is not active in any social media at the moment.