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‘It’s the natural next step’ Naomi Osaka to launch own sports agency

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has announced that she is set leave IMG to start her own sports agency, stating that it is “the natural next step” in her career.

Osaka, who was the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam, has confirmed that she is to leave IMG, and her new agency will be called Evolve. Her long-time agent Stuart Duguid has joined her in the venture.

The 24-year-old’s contract with IMG expired at the end of last year, and talks of renewing the deal were unsuccessful.

Duguid and Osaka began discussing the venture at the Tokyo Olympics last year, with Duguid stating in a recent interview that the firm, will operate as a “small boutique and bespoke agency”.

“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,” he said.

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

Duguid said he could not share much about the identities of the initial clients but added, “it would be only athletes who transcend their sports; or those with the potential to do so.”

In an exclusive interview with Sportico, Naomi Osaka discussed her business venture stating it was her “natural next step” both as an athlete and as a businesswoman.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional.

“Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”

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