The 2022 Australian Open doubles champion is the first client to sign a representation deal with the organization co-founded by Osaka.
Kyrgios, the 27-year-old from Australia, ranks 65th in the latest ATP singles rankings. He paired with countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the Australian Open doubles title in January for his first career Grand Slam win. He also has six career singles titles on the ATP tour.
EVOLVE describes itself as a multifaceted agency focused on brand partnerships, investing, creating athlete-owned businesses, and philanthropy. Duguid will represent Kyrgios in all of his on- and off-court ventures in partnership with Kyrgios’ manager Daniel Horsfall.
“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.”
Duguid has been a tennis agent since 2010 and was a Senior Vice President at IMG for the past six years before co-founding EVOLVE with his world-famous client. He and Osaka began working together in 2016 when Duguid first watched her play at the Aussie Open, going on to develop a relationship that’s now lasted nearly seven years — but the idea to form an agency of their own wasn’t hatched until the Olympics last summer in Tokyo.
“We were having a conversation about how some of our friends and role models, like LeBron, KD, and Kobe, had branched out on their own but as yet no female had done so,” Duguid told Boardroom. “Naomi had outgrown IMG Tennis, so this was really a natural evolution in her career. I think the opportunity to take more control of her career, chart her own destiny and build something that endures beyond her playing years were the main motivations.”
Nick Kyrgios at a Glance
Hometown: Canberra, Australia
Pro debut: 2013
Singles titles: 6
Career prize money (singles + doubles): $9,769,039
Two-time Davis Cup semifinalist (2015, ’17)
2022 Australian Open doubles champion (with Thanasi Kokkinakis)
Duguid said that he and Osaka, the 24-year-old, four-time Grand Slam winner and cultural icon, had been operating more as business partners for a good period of time.
“Naomi and I are very different in some respects, but when it comes to business and marketing, we tend to be very aligned and see things the same way,” Duguid said. “We feel like we have a unique and experienced perspective on the business of athletes who transcend their sport and affect culture. There is only a select few that do so and we know we can add value and help others achieve their dreams.”
Kyrgios marks the first athlete who’s trusted in the duo’s vision to add that value to a client, someone who’s worked with and already trusts Duguid.
“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.”
The plan, Duguid said, is to build a business around Kyrgios that reflects his influence and personality, adding that there’s already what he calls a groundbreaking deal in the works.
“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.”
While Osaka and Duguid claim a tennis star as their company’s first client, Duguid doesn’t necessarily see EVOLVE as solely a tennis agency. In fact, he told Boardroom that only a few tennis players fit the mold of what EVOLVE is looking for in finding athletes to represent for off-court marketing as the agency expands.
“We are looking at only those that influence culture and push boundaries,” Duguid said. “The goal is not to be big or small, but to change the industry and empower the athletes. We are both hugely ambitious, so we will grow together at whatever pace our destiny dictates.”