Naomi Osaka is starting her own sports agency.
The four-time major winner is breaking away from her management by IMG to launch her own endeavor with longtime agent Stuart Duguid.
Duguid revealed more about their plans while talking to Reuters.
The two reportedly began discussing a new venture at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Duguid added via an email that the firm, to be called Evolve, 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 did 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.”
That clue does not narrow down the field at all.
Naomi Osaka starting her own sports agency does not come as a surprise at all.
All the superstars of the sporting world, in one way or another, take sole property of their image rights as much as possible.
The first player for Japan to win a Grand Slam possesses a business-savvy mind that has seen her earn more through endorsements than on-court winnings.
She has been a trailblazer since her rise in the tennis ranks emerging as a leading advocate for athlete mental health and wellbeing, a topic rarely any athlete went close to speaking openly about.
She pulled out of the French Open a year ago to take time for herself while disclosing she had been suffering from depression for years.
In the past, she has called out sexism in the tennis world, as well as not taking the courts in protest of police shootings in the United States, and has refused to face media after her matches while also reacting strongly to crowd abuse.
She recently tweeted a compilation of clips from her earlier playing days in which she discussed her career aspirations with the caption “Hey kid, you’ve come a long way and even though there’s been some bumps on the road I hope you know you’re doing amazing.”
In one of the clips, she discussed what she might be doing if she did not make it as a tennis player.
“I just like sports, so maybe (I would be) like an agent in the end,” she said