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Naomi Osaka wins in return to court with her dad as new coach

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka made her return to the court Tuesday in her first match since the French Open.

She’s dealt with an Achilles injury since then, withdrawing from the grass court season – including Wimbledon.

Osaka is playing at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, which is also her first tournament since splitting with coach Wim Fissette. The duo had been together for two years, winning the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open.

In San Jose, Osaka scored a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win over Qinwen Zheng of China. She also gave some more insight into the split with her coach.

“It was really good times with Wim and he’s a really amazing coach,” Osaka told reporters during media day. “We didn’t part on bad terms. I just felt I needed different energy, and at the same time, 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. So confirming that there were no bad things happening.”

Joining Osaka on the court during the hard-court season will be her father, Leonard Francois, who she is bringing back as her coach. Francois coached Osaka until 2018.

“I wanted to bring my dad back because he always makes me think outside the box,” Osaka said. “Whenever I think something is really bad he always makes me realize that things are much more positive than they seem. When I get stressed out he starts dancing or something to make me feel better.

“So it’s just nice to have him around and it makes me remember the times when I was a kid. For right now, he would be my main coach. I would give him that title.”

Tuesday’s match was played in front of 2,005 fans – the most at a Tuesday daytime session at the tournament in more than a decade.

Osaka next will play Coco Gauff in the second round Thursday.