Christophe Jean, the tennis coach Naomi Osaka’s father hired to work with Naomi when she was 13, claims her father, Leonard Francois, signed a contract promising him 20% of her career earnings indefinitely and now he wants his share of the wealth.
According to TMZ, Jean says Francois couldn’t pay his rate at the time, so they made an agreement, in which Jean would accept 20% of Naomi and her sister Mari’s tennis prize money and endorsement deals, forever. Jean even says he has the receipts to prove it. He claims he has the contract where Francois agreed that the term of the agreement is “indefinite.” In fact, the docs are included in Jean’s suit, which has been filed in Florida state court.
Naomi is now 21 years old and is currently ranked #1 in the world after famously beating Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open. According to the official WTA website, she’s made more than $10.8 Million during her career so far, not including endorsements. Out of that, Jean is expecting $2 Million, and that’s the amount he is suing Naomi, Leonard, and Mari for.
However, Osaka’s famous lawyer, Alex Spiro, called Jean’s claim “absurd.” He said, “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 ‘contract’ that Naomi never saw or signed, which purports to give away part of herself at the age of 14, is particularly absurd. This case has no merit, and we will move past it.”