Naomi Osaka Sued by Ex-Coach Christophe Jean, Wants 20% of Future Earnings

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 18, 2019

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 11: Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a shot to Danielle Collins during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 11, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Naomi Osaka is reportedly being sued by her former coach Christophe Jean, who worked with the two-time Grand Slam winner when she was 13 and wants 20 percent of her earnings.

According to TMZ, Jean says he signed a contract with Osaka's father, Francois, who he says could not afford to pay the coach for his services training both Osaka and her sister, Mari.

Jean says the contract entitles him to 20 percent of Naomi and Mari Osaka's "tennis prize money and endorsement deals forever." He believes he's due $2 million (£1.5 million), per TMZ.

“While it comes as no surprise that Naomi's meteoric rise as an international icon and inspiration would lead to some false claim, this silly, imaginary contract that Naomi never saw or signed—which purports to give away part of herself at the age of 14—is particularly absurd," Alex Spiro, Osaka's lawyer, said in a statement, via Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Osaka has enjoyed a remarkable rise that has taken her to the top of the women's tennis rankings.

She won her first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open in September 2018, shocking six-time champion Serena Williams in straight sets in the final.

The victory also saw Osaka etch her name into the history books:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

History. Naomi Osaka is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. https://t.co/SM7mfzcMnV #bbctennis https://t.co/GOqMLmldXM

The 21-year-old then followed that up by winning the Australian Open in January. Her three-set victory over Petra Kvitova also saw her become the new world No. 1:

Reem Abulleil @ReemAbulleil

Naomi Osaka is 1st woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win her 2nd Grand Slam in a row after winning her 1st. On Monday, she'll become the 1st-ever Asian world No.1 on either tour. Beats Petra Kvitova 7-6(2) 5-7 6-4 to become 1st Japanese player to win the Australian Open https://t.co/tvYv288wC8

Osaka's success has brought her more than $10.8 million (£8.1 million) in prize money to date, according to the WTA.

She is being tipped to add plenty more Grand Slam titles to her collection:

Simon Cambers @scambers73

Just when we thought Naomi Osaka would win 10/15 slams (which she may, of course) Bianca Andreescu comes along. The women’s game is very strong right now

Osaka has had coaching issues this season. She split with Sascha Bajin in February but said the decision was not for financial reasons, per BBC Sport.

"Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn't," she said. "I wouldn't put success over my happiness. I'm not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around. That's one of the most hurtful things I've ever heard."

Osaka hired Jermaine Jenkins, a former hitting coach of Venus Williams, as her new coach in March, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).