Tennis

K-Swiss signs up Kournikova

Despite having not picked up a tennis racket in anger for a number of years, Anna Kournikova’s commercial clout shows no signs of stopping after she agreed to become a brand ambassador for lifestyle clothing firm K-Swiss.

Kournikova will appear in two television spots, the first beginning in March, illustrating the brand's product.

Kournikova will also promote the brand in print ads appearing in fashion and lifestyle magazines.

Wimbledon hands women equal prize money

After years of debate, The Wimbledon Championships has finally ceded to the pressure and announced that it is to hand men and women equal prize money for the first time at this year’s tournament.

The decision from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which runs the championships, brings Wimbledon into line with all the other Grand Slams on the annual calendar.

The WTA and leading players of both genders have long fought to achieve financial parity at Wimbledon – a request that the AELTC had hitherto refused to grant.

ATP eyes London for Masters Cup

London has emerged as the likely host for the ATP Masters Cup, the end-of-season finale of the men’s tennis season, from 2009.

The news is another feather in the cap of the capital which is fast becoming a much sought after venue for top sports events following its victory in securing the 2012 Olympics.

The ATP has followed the lead of the Tour de France, the NFL and the NBA who have all announced events in London in recent months.

Rolex ties up with Davis Cup

Rolex has signed a sponsorship deal with the International Tennis Federation to become a primary sponsor of the Davis Cup beginning with this year’s competition.

Rolex will become the official timekeeper of the competition which is titled sponsored by French bank BNP Paribas.

Rolex has a long history of involvement in tennis having held a long-standing sponsorship of Wimbledon as well as brand ambassador deals with the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Marat Safin.

The first round of this year’s Davis Cup begins on the weekend of 9-11 February.

Sharapova nets two more sponsors

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has added PepsiCo’s brands Gatorade and Tropicana to her ever-growing list of sponsorship contracts.

Sharapova, the defending US champion and second ranked player in the world, will lead a global hydration education campaign and star in a new Gatorade ad to launch early this year.

The 2004 Wimbledon champion, who doesn't turn 20 until this April, signed a ‘lifetime’ deal with racket and apparel company Prince last year for a reported $25m. She also endorses Canon, Colgate, Nike, Tag Heuer, Land Rover amongst others.

Murray strikes Highland Spring deal

British tennis number one Andy Murray has signed a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Highland Spring – a contract the bottled water brand claims to be the biggest kit deal of its type in tennis.

As of 1 January, Murray will wear the company’s logo on his left sleeve during matches as part of a multi-year deal that also see’s Highland Spring as the new official water sponsor to ‘Team Murray’  - which includes his brother Jamie and his mother and tennis coach Judy Murray.

LTA and Queen's settle ownership row

The Lawn Tennis Association and the members of The Queen's Club have settled out-of-court their legal action over ownership of the club, with the former agreeing to sell the lease of the venue to the members for £35 million.

The settlement of the sale of the 120-year lease of the club to members for £35 million is £10 million less than the original price agreed earlier in the year. 

The transaction is due to be completed by the end of May 2007.

Anson to take the reins at ATP

The future of Andy Anson, Manchester United’s outgoing commercial director, has finally been revealed after it was announced that he will become chief executive of ATP Europe, the governing body for men’s tennis.

Anson, whose next move had been shrouded in mystery after he resigned his current post at United earlier this year, will take up his new role at the ATP in April – a month after finishing his duties at Manchester United.

He replaces outgoing CEO Horst Klosterkemper, who has overseen the European region since 2004.

WTA to shorten Tour calendar

In a bid to appease growing concerns over player withdrawal, the WTA Tour is to be dramatically cut back after the governing body set up a task force to determine which tournaments should remain on the calendar.

A search team, headed by Tour president Stacey Allaster, will meet with tournament applicants and review applications over the coming months, with the Board expected to make a final decision in March 2007 as to which tournaments will compose each level of the enhanced calendar structure to be launched in 2009.

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