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Tennis star Naomi Osaka is launching her own sports agency

Naomi Osaka of Japan returns the ball against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain during their match at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, on May 1, 2022.
Manu Fernandez
/
AP
Naomi Osaka of Japan returns the ball against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain during their match at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, on May 1, 2022.

The 24-year-old tennis star Naomi Osaka is starting her own sports agency after six years with IMG, according to Sportico.

Osaka is partnering with her agent, Stuart Duguid, in the venture, named Evolve. Each will hold equity stakes in the company, said Sportico, which first reported the news Wednesday.

"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," Osaka told Sportico.

Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete in the world, rose to prominence after defeating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final in 2018. In the following year, she reigned victorious in the Australian Open. She went on to win the U.S. Open in 2020 and clinched a second Australian Open victory in 2021.

In 2021, many athletes rallied behind Osaka after she spoke up about mental health. That year, she said she wouldn't take part in a press conference, citing the mental toll that it can take on athletes — a decision that ultimately cost her a $15,000 fine. She later pulled out of the French Open.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rina Torchinsky

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