Zheng Says She 'Won't Forgive' Coach Who Is Set To Join Osaka For Upcoming Season

Zheng Says She 'Won't Forgive' Coach Who Is Set To Join Osaka For Upcoming Season

by Nurein Ahmed

China's rising star Qinwen Zheng lifted the lid on her coaching situation with Wim Fissette, who decided to pull the plug on their alliance in order to coach Naomi Osaka.

Zheng became aware of Fissette's ambitions right after this year's US Open where she reached a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal. But even against the backdrop of strong and steady results together, the Belgian coach informed Zheng that their partnership had run its course.

Zheng revealed that Fissette completed formal talks to join Osaka's team in New York with the former WTA No. 1 recently announcing her comeback to tennis at the start of 2024. If Fissette ends up coaching Osaka, as Zheng said, it would be for a second stint.

Osaka won two of her four Grand Slam titles under Fisette's tutelage before parting ways last July. At the time the Japanese star confirmed that she needed 'different energy' in her camp and talked about contrasting ambitions between them. Osaka's injury struggles meant that Fissette could not work with her on a regular basis.

The manner in which Fissette decided to end her short-lived alliance with Zheng has left the Chinese player seemingly broken and crestfallen, particularly after it looked like they had turned a corner as a team. Fissette began working with Zheng at the start of the grass-court season and guided her to win a maiden WTA title just a month after their contract began.

Zheng who captured a gold medal for her country at the 2023 Asian Games, came to terms with Fissette's decision. Osaka's star power and high net worth meant that Zheng was fighting a losing battle to retain the 43-year-old as her coach, but the Chinese player admitted she wouldn't forgive him for the manner in which he left.

"During the US Open, I knew he had contact with the team of Osaka. Right after the match, he said to me that he felt like he had no connection with me. He never said that to me before. Right after I was defeated, he said that to me."

"I felt very strange. I talked to my manager. I asked my manager whether he will go to Osaka's team. The manager said, no, he wouldn't be that kind of person. But after resting for a week, he suddenly told me that he was going to work with Osaka."

"It was quite a big impact to me and my team members and my family. I cried after hearing that. There were no fights, no arguments in our collaboration. There was nothing new to me in this collaboration, but also he did not do anything wrong."

"1 thought that was an unethical end to that collaboration. I understand that Osaka can provide a better offer to him. I understand from his perspective this might be a better position. He has a family to support. I understand his decision, but it doesn't mean I will forgive him for making such a decision."


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