Report: Naomi Osaka opening agency to build her business

Former World No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka has split with her agency, IMG, and will start her own, Sportico reported Wednesday.

The agency will be called Evolve.

Joining Osaka at Evolve is Stuart Duguid, who was a senior vice president at IMG. Sportico said both Duguid and Osaka will hold equity stakes in Evolve with no other outside investors as of the launch.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka, 24, said, per Sportico. “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.”

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam winner, ranked No. 12 on Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes in 2021 with $60 million in earnings. All but $5 million came off the court.

Forbes said she is the highest-paid female athlete ever, and Sportico reported she will be the first woman in sports “to take full control of her business endeavors.”

Duguid told Sportico that Evolve won’t be looking to add a trove of athletes. The focus will remain on Osaka and “building Naomi’s business from $50 million a year to $150 million a year,” he said.

Osaka took much of 2021 off to focus on her mental health and has slipped to No. 38 in the rankings because of her lack of tournament appearances.

Her best finish of the season came earlier this month at the Miami Open, where she was the runner-up to Iga Swiatek of Poland.

–Field Level Media

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