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Naomi Osaka leaves IMG to launch her own sports agency

Naomi Osaka (TPN/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka is leaving IMG to launch her own sports agency called EVOLVE, Sportico reported Wednesday.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka told Sportico. “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.”

She will work alongside Stuart Duguid, her agent at IMG, who has opted to leave his former agency and will hold a stake in the new company.

A four-time Grand Slam champion, Osaka is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. She collected $52 million in endorsements last year, more than any other female athlete. She also topped the list of highest-paid female athletes for the third year in a row.

Osaka’s contract with IMG reportedly expired at the end of last year, prompting the move, Sportico reported.

She is the first superstar woman athlete to found her own agency, according to Sportico. In doing so, she joins the likes of LeBron James, Roger Federer and Jack Nicklaus, who also launched their own agencies.