Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Nick Kyrgios Designs Illesteva Glasses And Discusses Business Focus

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Nick Kyrgios says he isn’t done playing tennis. But when he is, he’ll have plenty of business opportunities lined up.

“Yeah, I mean I am still playing now so that’s the key to all of this,” he tells me ahead of the launch of his first design project, the Nick Kyrgios x Illesteva eyeglasses collection. “I didn’t want to be done with tennis and find myself saying ‘What’s next?’ I learned great lessons from guys like Kobe [Bryant], LeBron [James], KD [Kevin Durant], Naomi [Osaka] to start thinking about business while playing and not after. That’s how you have the most impact.”

The Australian tennis star who reached the Wimbledon final in 2022, won a major doubles title at the Australian Open in 2022 and has been ranked as high as No. 13 in the world hasn’t played in a major tournament since the U.S. Open in 2022 due to injury. He says he’s still fighting to get back on the court, but not wasting his time when he’s not on it.

Kyrgios has become a staple behind a microphone, hosting the show “Good Trouble” that airs on Tennis Channel’s second network and providing commentary for various live television broadcasts during major tournaments. But his latest endeavor debuts the Nick Kyrgios x Illesteva collection that features two unisex court-ready eyeglass frames available in two colors and an additional unisex acetate street-focused design in four colors.

“This is really my first design project,” he says about the handcrafted Italian frames that launched May 15. “And it’s a pretty nontraditional business deal, which really appealed to my entrepreneurial side.”

Kyrgios says Illesteva was a brand his girlfriend, Costeen Hatzi, and him had been following for a while. They’d seen “cool people” wearing the frames, such as James, and Kyrgios says he “really saw them as the coolest brand in the category.”

“Embracing Nick’s dynamic style both on and off the court, we’ve merged his distinctive design vision with his passions for tennis, coffee and basketball throughout the campaign and collection,” Daniel Silberman, Illesteva CEO, tells me.

“The frames are exactly how I imagined,” Kyrgios says, “and I would be a customer even if they weren’t mine. The images from the shoot really show the vibe we are looking for.”

Part of the Evolve agency started by Osaka and her agent Stuart Duguid, Kyrgios has been able to tap into creative director Carly Duguid’s world. “Carly has a decorated background in fashion and design, so it was really cool to learn from her,” he says.

The first foray into design for Kyrgios may not be his last in the world of business, but so far, his sweet spot has been being behind a microphone.

“It all comes very naturally,” he says. “I just love meeting new people and talking about life,” a reference to his one-on-one interviews with celebrities for “Good Trouble.” “I still feel like I have some tennis left in me, but this is a career I can imagine for the many years to come. The show ‘Good Trouble’ is for sure a massive focus.”

To mix in a bit of straight business growth, Kyrgios says he’s also learning the ropes of private equity investing to help diversity his portfolio.

Tennis will be a way of life—and business—for Kyrgios moving forward. “I’ll be at Wimbledon one way or another,” he says about the July tournament. “Still hoping to play but if not, I’ll be on the TV side. And then ‘Good Trouble’ season 2 is gonna be a banger.”

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