Osaka appoints Belgian Fissette as coach: Kyodo

Osaka appoints Belgian Fissette as coach: Kyodo 45
Osaka appoints Belgian Fissette as coach: Kyodo 55

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – China Open – Women’s Singles – Final – National Tennis Center, Beijing, China – October 6, 2019. Naomi Osaka of Japan in action against Ashleigh Barty of Australia. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka has appointed Belgian Wim Fissette as coach, Kyodo news agency on Sunday quoted the Japanese player’s management as saying, as she gears up to defend her Australian Open title.

Osaka has been without a coach since September, when she split with Jermaine Jenkins following a disappointing defense of her U.S. Open title.

Jenkins was himself a replacement for Sascha Bajin, who Osaka ditched in February, weeks after winning her first major at Melbourne Park.

She subsequently suffered early exits at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Former professional Fissette, 39, guided compatriot Kim Clijsters to three grand slam titles between 2009 and 2011 and has also worked with major winners Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

Osaka’s 2019 win Down Under, after her breakthrough U.S. Open title, made her Asia’s first world number one and the first player of any nation to claim their first two Grand Slam titles back-to-back since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Now ranked third, Osaka had her father filling in as coach following the split with Jenkins.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by John Stonestreet

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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