Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka of Japan is reportedly launching her own sports agency along with her former agent at IMG Photo: AFP/File
tennis

Naomi Osaka launching her own sports agency: report

35 Comments

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is departing IMG and launching her own sports agency with agent Stuart Duguid, Sportico reported Wednesday.

Japan's Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete in the world for several years, told the sports-business publication in an e-mail that the agency, called Evolve, was the "next step" in her journey as an athlete and businesswoman.

"I've spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn't what was expected or traditional," Osaka said. "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's contract with sports management giant IMG expired at the end of 2021 and she opted not to renew her deal with the company. Instead, she struck out on her own, alongside former IMG agent Duguid.

Both have equity stakes in the new firm, and there are no outside investors at this point, according to Sportico.

"I strongly believe in the power athletes have to use our platforms to drive meaningful business," Osaka told Sportico, adding that she wants the agency to "be at the forefront of breaking down the barriers that still exist in sports and broader culture."

Osaka this week withdrew from the Italian Open to reset an Achilles injury ahead of the French Open.

Osaka, currently ranked 38th in the world, has shown signs of a return to form this year. The 24-year-old reached the Miami Open final, where she fell to world number one Iga Swiatek.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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Naomi sets a great example for young Japanese women. So many admire her and wish to emulate her. Good luck Naomi!

-18 ( +11 / -29 )

So many admire her and wish to emulate her. Good luck Naomi!

Like who?

11 ( +28 / -17 )

Naomi sets a great example for young Japanese women. So many admire her and wish to emulate her.

Really? I think most people think she sets a terrible example. There are so many much better example out there. Rikako Ikee the swimmer who recovered from leukemia comes to mind.

16 ( +30 / -14 )

Good for her! Ignore the angry old boomers who try to tell you how to react and not others how to act. Best of luck Osaka.

-13 ( +16 / -29 )

I wish her luck with her new venture however, I wish they would stop calling her Japanese; she's a rather pleasant young American lady who can play a mean game of tennis and happens to have one Japanese parent.

11 ( +25 / -14 )

I wish her luck with her new venture however, I wish they would stop calling her Japanese; she's a rather pleasant young American lady who can play a mean game of tennis and happens to have one Japanese parent.

Uhh, she was born in Japan to a Japanese mother. That makes her Japanese. Or do we go about calling all half kids here not Japanese?

-20 ( +7 / -27 )

If she wants to do side projects, that's great. She has a phenomenal talent for playing tennis though, and I hope she can get back to her best. Or at least to a position where mental issues are not affecting her game.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

It's another step forward in a great career (4 time grand slam champion). and a great name, Evolve. Sometimes there are way too powerful agencies out there, not only in sport, but in entertainment/media/cosmetics etc and I applaud anyone who wants to start their own

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

I wish they would stop calling her Japanese;

She is Japanese. Born in Japan, Japanese mother, Japanese passport, Japanese citizenship, represents Japan.

Who exactly qualifies as "Japanese" by your definition?

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

@Fighto, yep. People saying she’s not Japanese, she’s too emotional, can’t do this, can’t do that, grand slam champion but can’t be a role model. Ok boomers.

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

tamanegi

Naomi sets a great example for young Japanese women.

For young Black women, as well.

And, mixed-race Japanese of any gender.

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

Come on be honest... She has a Japanese mother who left Japan because of racism.. her words not mine. Naomi knows she can get more sponsorship from Japan so opted to go the Japan route. I would have done the same.

10 ( +19 / -9 )

ok and so..what?

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Excellent.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Great move Duguid

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Come on be honest... 

Honestly, stop trying to take away the identity of half black women. She is Japanese regardless of the path her mother chose to take her to the states.

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

Ignore the angry old boomers

By most definitions, I'm a boomer, and have been known to be angry on occasion. Yet I'm a big fan of Naomi Osaka. (Maybe partly because I'm a dad to two kids also born in Osaka.) I've always thought it was the youngsters here who moan about her.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

I wonder how she is still able to live and earn income in the States while being a Japanese citizen with renounced US citizenship (assuming she did considering the legality of dual-citizenship in Japan and that she is a public figure)? She must have a reliable accountant whom I must meet so that I can consult with them about my taxes!

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Readers, please don't get fixated on Osaka's citizenship. It is not relevant to this story.

I wonder how this will work for her.....hopefully her partner can make it work as I dont really see Osaka san as being able to be more than a famous face, I am not sure if she has the experience to be an agent for others......time will tell I guess

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Naomi Osaka to become a super agent, and contract other athletes.

I wouldn’t use her personally. What if I call and shes upset, mentally fatigued, or having to take the rest of the month off to take care of her gentle spirit?

Agents have to fight for their clients and be stronger than they are, off the court.

Pass

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I wouldn’t use her personally

Yeah because you’re absolutely the client she’s looking for lmao.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I don't think she'll be an agent, what if a client call her while she's in themiddle of a championship match

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why is she so unpopular with let’s say a ‘particular section’ of society?

Easy.

the highest-paid female athlete in the world for several years

A person can only hold so much self hatred before they fill up and have to start spewing it on others.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What will they agency provide its clients? How to handle the foreign media?

good luck with that

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's all about the $$$$$$$. No IMG to pay.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hope you have great luck with your new company!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Who? Is she still relevant?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

@Bob Fosse, yep. She’s a woman, black, highest paid athlete, very successful, and told people NO when she didn’t want to do something. People hate her for it. More luck to her. People hating her won’t also stop her being Japanese either :)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

WOW!! The point Ms. Osaka made was she will NO LONGER BE REPRESENTED BY IMG!! She stated she will start her own sports management company being a Athlete and BUSINESS WOMEN. She never said she will represent athletes she said HER COMPANY WILL. Its her name, I believe she will hire the right people to run the day to day operations with the help of her former IMG agent Duguid who will more than likely represent her interest in the new company! I think it is a very smart move especially with the amount of money she is making. IMG get a really big amount and if anyone has or want to know goggle the percentages of the amount of money these Agencies get from the power athletes and then you will also say the large company such as IMG is getting too much. I wish her the best!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This makes me happy, because I know there will be plenty more articles about here to come over the years, annoying the hell out of our right-wingers and negative nancy's, due to how awesome and positive she is. Go Naomi! Annoy them all!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I wish her luck but is she going to break down at the first stumble in her business or citicism? She seems a bit too emotional for business.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I wish her luck but is she going to break down at

4 time Grand Slam Champion.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What a clever and gutsy business decision. I wish her all the best.

I would not be surprised if her agency passes IMG in the near future.

Being a four-time GS winner and have been the highest paid female athlete for a number of years are credentials that should attract a lot of new talent.

She will serve as the "kanban" for her agency, let her employees do all the work, and concentrate on playing tennis.

I would love to see her win at least one more GS.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lol, this should be good. There ad campaign would include this:

Sign up with my agency and you’re allowed one temper tantrum and a mental breakdown per week.

Anything more, and we’ll have to charge you extra.

Be careful, our agency staff may quit on you the second we feel any amount of pressure. But other than that, everything will be fine!

Join us!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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