Naomi Osaka to leave IMG to start own company

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Naomi Osaka to leave IMG to start own company

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has announced that she will be parting ways with IMG to launch her very own sports agency along with her agent Stuart Duguid.

The to-be-launched agency will be called Evolve. Osaka and Duguid have been working on this venture since the Tokyo Olympics last year. Evolve is set to operate as a ‘small boutique and bespoke agency’.

Stuart Duguid, Osaka’s longtime agent, stated:

We were discussing the business models of some of her mentors like Kobe (Bryant) and Lebron (James). We thought – why has no transcendent female athlete done that yet?

It’s athlete-driven and focused on big picture brand building rather than quick checks with a commission attached.

Osaka posted a compilation of clips of herself from her younger days on Twitter, with the caption:

Hey kid, you’ve come a long way and even though there have been some bumps on the road I hope you know you’re doing amazing.

In one of the clips, a young Osaka can be seen stating:

I just like sports, so maybe (I would be) like an agent in the end.

Aside from tennis, Osaka has been vocal about various causes and has also been a keen investor. She even started her own brand Kinlò, a skin care products company focused on people with melanated or darker skin tones last year.

For IMG, Osaka isn’t the first big name to leave the agency. Most recently, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both left IMG to start businesses with their respective agents.

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