Nick Kyrgios has become the first player to sign with Naomi Osaka's new player agency, sparking a frenzy in the tennis world.
Osaka co-founded 'Evolve' sports agency in May alongside agent Stuart Duguid, who represented the Japanese star for over six years at IMG.
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Kyrgios had also been represented by Duguid at IMG and has now teamed up with Osaka's new agency.
“Kyrgios embodies the types of athletes we want to work with at Evolve,” Osaka told Boardroom.
“He’s got an unmatched style, passion, and personality that is unlike any other in the sport. We have some big things in the pipeline for him that are very unique and pioneering.”
Evolve is focused on investing in brand partnerships, creating athlete-owned businesses, as well as philanthropy.
Duguid said in May that Evolve isn't trying to be a large agency, and may only take on a few clients.
He recently told Boardroom that he and Osaka are looking for athletes who transcend their sport and influence culture.
“When I learned that Stuart and Naomi were starting an agency focused on supporting athletes like me, it made complete sense to join,” Kyrgios said.
“I have consistently tried to do things differently throughout my career and bring my entire personality to the game of tennis.
"I’m excited to work with Stuart and Naomi to continue building on what we’ve started and push the game of tennis forward.”
Duguid will now represent Kyrgios alongside the Aussie star's manager Daniel Horsfall.
“Nick is the most talented and entertaining tennis player on the tour, bar none,” Duguid said.
“His energy is infectious. And love or hate him, you definitely can’t keep your eyes off him.
"If you go to any junior tennis tournament you will see Nick’s influence in a second. For Gen Z and younger, he is absolutely the icon.”
Tennis fans had a mixed reaction to the news on social media.
Just because news stories about Nick Kyrgios get clicks doesn’t mean he has a great brand. Unless he can stop acting out and start winning more matches, I’m not sure that this is a great move by Osaka. At least Osaka has a hobby while she’s not playing tennis.
— urban myths, legends (@urbanmyths) June 20, 2022
What is @naomiosaka thinking? How could she risk her brand on the most unprofessional athlete in the sport? Can’t wait to see how they market smashing rackets. So disappointing.
— Michael Gordon (@michaelgordon60) June 20, 2022
Oof good luck to all.
— @EarthBound (@Earthbound_Roam) June 20, 2022
He’s gonna have to actually train and play if you wanna make any money though Naomi…I’m not just throwing shade, the guy could be an all time great, I want to see it
— Connor Lew (@fewLikeCLew) June 20, 2022
Love to see where this is going
— Amini Fonua (@AminiFonua) June 20, 2022
That’s rad. I love Nick. Heart on his sleeve guy.
— Dusty Moonshine (@DustyMoonshine) June 20, 2022
I’m so embarrassed for everyone involved in this. 🤢
— BeckyHeartz99 (@BeckyHeartz99) June 20, 2022
Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka's bond
Kyrgios and Osaka have formed a bond in recent years, with the pair spotted on the practice court together ahead of Indian Wells in March.
The pair were thought to be teaming up to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon, however Osaka has since announced her withdrawal due to an achilles injury.
“If he wants to attempt to carry us, I’ll consider it,” Osaka said previously.
"But I haven’t played doubles in years and I’m not quite great at it.
“I know he just won the Australian Open doubles title. Yeah, if he wants to do everything…”
Kyrgios will head to Wimbledon unseeded in singles after his loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals at the Halle Open.
The Aussie fell just short of reaching his maiden grass-court final in Germany after going down to eventual champion Hurkacz.
Kyrgios will play another grass-court tune-up in Mallorca this week before Wimbledon gets underway on June 27.
The 27-year-old's loss to Hurkacz means he will be unseeded at Wimbledon, meaning he could face a tricky draw in the early rounds.
But as leading tennis writer Jose Morgado pointed out, Kyrgios also looms as a dangerous early prospect for any of the top-ranked male players.
Nick Kyrgios will be unseeded at Wimbledon. Bad news for him and for pretty much everybody.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) June 18, 2022
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