Naomi Osaka launches agency for athletes

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Los Angeles : Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has left sports management group IMG to launch her own agency, Evolve, according to sports website Sportico.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when they weren’t expected. Evolve is the next natural stage in my career as an athlete and businesswoman, and a way to be myself and do things my way,” the Japanese said in a statement to the site.

Osaka’s contract, the world’s highest-paid female athlete, expired at the end of last year with sports management giant IMG and decided not to renew it.

Her former agent, Stuart Duguid, followed her to be her partner in the new adventure, noting that Evolve does not yet include other investors, according to Sportico.

“I strongly believe in the ability of sports athletes to use their platforms of expression,” continued Osaka, wishing her agency “to be a pioneer in removing the barriers that still exist in sports and culture in general.”

Osaka, 24, withdrew this week from the Italian session of Rome to recover from an Achilles tendon injury, before participating on dirt in Roland Garros, the second Grand Slam.

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