Former World No.1 Andy Murray has confirmed he will be wearing British sportswear brand Castore at the 2019 Australian Open in Melbourne, an event which he has since warned could be the final tournament of his career.
News of the Scot’s new sponsorship deal came amid developments overnight in Australia where the three-time Grand Slam winner announced that he plans to retire this year, having struggled with a debilitating hip injury, despite surgery 12 months ago.
At an emotional press conference ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2019, the 31-year-old was seen wearing Castore’s Johansson T-shirt and Ghost Cap.
Castore replaces US Brand Under Armour, which Murray had been with since signing a four-year apparel sponsorship deal in 2015.
Commenting on his new deal, Murray said, “I am a fan of the Castore brand and have been following their progress for some time.
“As my next kit partnership will potentially be my last one, I want to wear the very best products. I've been testing a range of different kit including Castore, the British sportswear brand, and really like their stuff.
“We have been discussing potential opportunities to work together, and I will be wearing Castore for Australia and remaining on court appearances as I have been so impressed by their quality from my testing in training.”
Tom Beahon, co-founder of Castore, added, “We are delighted that Andy has chosen to wear Castore for the Australian Open.
“The most successful British tennis player in history choosing to wear our products to help his performance is a real privilege and really underscores the superior quality of Castore products.
“We create sportswear that helps make athletes perform better and it is fantastic that Andy rates our products so highly. Andy is a huge inspiration to athletes all over the world and is perfectly aligned with our brand ethos of Better Never Stops.”
In the meantime, the sports industry has been reacting to the shock news of Murray’s planned exit from the game.
Adam Hogg, Event Director at the Nitto ATP Finals, tweeted: “An incredible athlete and ambassador for the sport. Hope he gets the send-off he deserves.”
Whilst former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “He’s such a phenomenal competitor in an era of other great players, a champion for equality in sport and a genuinely nice guy. I think his legacy of inspiring the next generation will live long.”
In further tennis news, the ATP has confirmed a new five-year partnership with Dunlop, which will see the sports equipment brand become the Official Ball of the ATP Tour and the Nitto ATP Finals.
The multi-year agreement, which begins this year, results in Dunlop becoming a Silver Partner of both the ATP Tour and the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.
Dunlop already possesses an extensive portfolio of partnerships with ATP Tour events, which includes a Next Gen ATP Finals Gold Partnership that began in 2018.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “This new agreement is a testament to Dunlop’s continued commitment to the sport of tennis and we are excited to build a long-term partnership with such a world-renowned brand.”
“Dunlop has exhibited the foremost standards of quality and attention to detail throughout the process of testing and developing the new ATP Tour Official Ball, which ensures the highest levels of performance and consistency for our players across all conditions and playing surfaces.”
It was also confirmed that the Dunlop ATP Tour Official Ball will be used across high-profile ATP Tour events throughout the ATP calendar, on all playing surfaces.