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Naomi Osaka launching sports agency

Naomi Osaka is launching her own sports agency.

The Japanese tennis star confirmed on Wednesday (11.05.22) that she is leaving IMG to launch Evolve with her long-time agent Stuart Duguid.

Osaka has emerged as a leading advocate for athlete mental health after pulling out of last year's French Open and disclosing that she had been suffering from depression for years.

She told Sportico: "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."

Duguid revealed that he and Osaka - the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam tournament - started discussing the idea at the Tokyo Olympics last year and have been inspired by sporting icons such as LeBron James.

He said: "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."

Duguid also revealed that the agency is looking to attract some of the biggest names from the world of sport.

He said: "It would be only athletes who transcend their sports; or those with the potential to do so."

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