Home » HEADLINES AND FEATURES, This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen, Top Stories » Novak Djokovic and Sergio Tacchini relationship could be on the rocks: This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen

Sergio Tacchini dropping the ball with top-ranked Djokovic

Back in November 2009, Novak Djokovic signed a 10-year sponsorship deal with legendary tennis clothing brand Sergio Tacchini. In 2007, the company filed for bankruptcy before being purchased for $42 million by Chinese businessman Billy Ngok in 2008. The story got even more exciting as Djokovic rose to No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and won three of four Grand Slams in 2011, including the US Open on Monday over Rafael Nadal in four sets. “I am really honored to be a part of that brand who had a lot of No. 1’s and to be able to revive the brand,” Djokovic told CNBC’s Darren Rovell before the US Open. “To be able to become No. 1 with Tacchini, with the tennis brand, is even a bigger pleasure.” However, insiders say the company is likely going to have a tough time paying off his multi-million dollar bonuses this year, which have not been disclosed. The reason is that Sergio Tacchini is barely making profit and its production and distribution have hurt its ability to capitalize on Djokovic’s remarkable run. While well-known tennis brands, Nike and adidas, have had their tennis gear that US Open players wore in stores nationwide for at least a month, Sergio Tacchini doesn’t even have its Djokovic US Open designs in stores yet. His line is expected in stores by the last week of September or possibly into October. “It’s so much hit or miss, how am I ever going to plan a marketing campaign around Djokovic’s Sergio Tacchini gear?” said Greg Wolf, Owner of Midwest Sports in Cincinnati. “I certainly can’t run a TV ad or put something in a magazine and I can’t see how Sergio can justify paying him with the small amount of product that they are selling.” Wolf insists that Djokovic would be an extremely big seller if he was with the right brand. “The guy speaks five languages,” said Wolf. “He’s articulate, he’s funny, women love him. He’s not Federer. But McEnroe wasn’t Borg. We don’t need another Federer. We’re ‘Federer’d’ out. He’s got the personality to make the needle move.” With players such as Roger Federer and Serena and Venus Williams nearing the end of their remarkable careers, Wolf is concerned about having a star as well-known as Djokovic with a company that hasn’t been able to figure out how to capitalize. “In order to become a big brand, you have to get lucky and sign a rock star,” said Wolf. “They did that. That’s the easy part. But they can’t keep paying him if they don’t know how to backfill the product.”

Novak Djokovic

Federer vs. Roddick, Sharapova vs. Wozniacki in BNP Paribas Showdown in New York City on March 5

On Monday, March 5, 2012 at the World’s Most Famous Arena – Madison Square Garden – in the heart of New York City, four of the top players in the world will take part in the fifth annual BNP Paribas Showdown, marking the start of the tennis season in the United States. This year’s event will start off by featuring former world No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova taking on current top-ranked WTA star Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Following the completion of the first match, 16-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 Roger Federer will clash with 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick. Both matches will be best of three sets. “Playing in Madison Square Garden has always been a dream of mine,” said Sharapova. “Everyone wants to play there at least once in their career. I look forward to coming back to New York for the Showdown.” Roddick added, “I have never had a chance to play at the Garden before and to play Roger there will make it a special night. I am really looking forward to a great event.” Tickets for the BNP Paribas Showdown start at $50 and will go on sale to the general public on October 3 at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information and an opportunity to sign up for pre-sale alerts prior to tickets going on sale fans can visit tennisshowdown.com. “Madison Square Garden has an unparalleled history of great tennis with more than 80 years featuring some of the very best in the game in a unique arena setting,” said Scott O’Neil, President, MSG Sports. “At the BNP Paribas Showdown on March 5th, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki will all grace The Garden court and entertain a very New York crowd joining the ranks of tennis greats featured at The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Capriati, Kafelnikov, Kuerten, lead 2012 International Tennis Hall of Fame nominees

Former Grand Slam champions Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Gustavo Kuerten have been nominated for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., to take place in the summer of 2012. Other former player nominees include Thelma Coyne Long and Manuel Orantes. Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, founder of the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, wheelchair player Randy Snow and administrators Mike Davies and Eiichi Kawateir were also nominated.

“The Daily” and MacCallan Sponsor “Get Served” Tennis Party

The Daily, the new Rupert Murdoch-owned Ipad newspaper, and MacCallan Scotch were the lead sponsors for “Get Served” a US Open party held at the Whiskey Blue bar at the “W” Hotel on 49th and Lexington Avenue on Friday, September 9. Attending guests that crossed the social media and tennis worlds were given a free one-year subscription to The Daily as well as a copy of the New Chapter Press-published book ROGER FEDERER: QUEST FOR PERFECTION (www.RogerFedererBook.com)
The party was abuzz when five-time US Open champion Roger Federer arrived, however, guests eventually learned that “Federer” was actually a Federer look-a-like named Darren Cellemme from Hoboken, N.J.
The subscribe to The Daily, go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-daily/id411516732?mt=8
For more info on MacCallan, go to http://www.themacallan.com/home.aspx

Serena Williams fined $2,000 for verbal outburst at chair umpire; Mike Bryan fined $10,000

Serena Williams was slapped with a $2,000 fine for a verbal outburst at chair umpire Eva Asderaki during the US Open women’s final on Sunday. US Open Tournament Referee Brian Earley said in a statement that the fine was issued for the code violation for verbal abuse. “This fine is consistent with similar offenses at Grand Slam events,” the statement said. “After independently reviewing the incident which served as the basis for the code violation, and taking into account the level of fine imposed by the U.S. Open referee, the Grand Slam Committee Director has determined that Ms. Williams’ conduct, while verbally abusive, does not rise to the level of a major offense under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct.” In the first game of the set, when Williams appeared to hit a winner against eventual champion Samantha Stosur, she yelled in celebration before the ball landed in the court. Stosur touched the ball and was awarded the point because of the hindrance rule that allows for a point penalty if the “hindrance” is considered to be intentional. After the point, which gave Stosur the game, Williams launched a verbal attack of the chair umpire during the changeover. The $2,000 fine wasn’t the biggest issued at the tournament, as top-ranked ATP doubles player Mike Bryan was fined $10,000 for an undisclosed offense. Because Bryan can still appeal the fine, a US Open official can’t say what the offense is at the moment.

TV rating up 18 percent from 2010 for this year’s US Open men’s final

According to a report from the Associated Press, Novak Djokovic’s four-set win over Rafael Nadal at the US Open during the championship match on Monday, which was shown on CBS, earned an overnight rating of 2.6 and a 6 share. That’s up 18 percent from a 2.2/6 for the start of last year’s final between the same players. The end of last year’s match was moved to ESPN2 because of a rain delay. Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the country’s largest markets.

US Open women’s final TV rating up from 2010

Samantha Stosur’s straight set win over Serena Williams in the championship match on Sunday at the US Open, which was seen nationwide on CBS, had a TV rating up 121 percent from the 2010 final. The match earned a 4.2 overnight rating and a 8 share. Last year’s final, in which Kim Clijsters polished off Russian Vera Zvonareva to win her second straight title, drew a 1.9/4 rating. Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the country’s largest markets.

First Lady Michelle Obama attends US Open, Promotes Let’s Move!

First Lady Michelle Obama was on hand during the second week of the US Open to participate in a USTA 10 and Under tennis clinic on the site of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. She was joined by several current and former tennis players including Serena Williams, John McEnroe, James Blake, MaliVai Washington and Katrina Adams, as she thanked the participating children from the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, who took part in the Let’s Move! initiative. First Lady Michelle Obama was appreciative that the USTA has helped engage millions of children over the years by introducing them to the sport of tennis and building more than 2,000 right-sized courts that provide a place for young players to play. “I have been trying to get to the US Open my entire life. I am so incredibly excited to finally be at my first US Open, but I am equally excited and proud to be standing in partnership with the USTA and all they have done for hundreds of thousands of kids across this country. You are an example of what we can do when we put our minds to it,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I am again grateful to the USTA. The courts you build, these kids sized courts, are just amazing. They will break that barrier; they will make tennis accessible to kids…I am so proud of the USTA.” Earlier this year, the USTA partnered with the Let’s Move! campaign, which helps more kids to get moving, lead healthy lifestyles, and earn their own Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). The PALA award recognizes kids who stay active for 60 minutes per day, five days a week for six out of eight weeks. Kids have been reminded to play tennis during their program hours and are encouraged to stay active at home or during school hours. PALA’s nationwide goal is to get one million youngsters to take the challenge. To date, the USTA is responsible for providing 226,634 kids who have participated in and completed PALA through its National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) League, Community Tennis Associations (CTA), Schools Tennis, Tennis in the Parks, and Wheelchair Tennis programs.

USTA Presidential Task Force on Tennis and Higher Education meets during US Open

On September 4, the USTA Presidential Task Force met at the Grand Hyatt in midtown Manhattan during the US Open to discuss developing an educational pathway to help guide children from 10 and Under tennis through college. Several other new projects were also introduced as possibilities that would further promoter higher education through tennis. The Task Force was founded in January by USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen. “We could put in place a player development system that creates not only champions on the court, but also champions in life,” said Vegosen. “In short, if we were to develop people through tennis, we would inevitably promote and develop the growth of tennis itself.” The Task Force has the mission of promoting the importance and value of obtaining a college education to every American child, with tennis serving as the sport of opportunity to achieve that goal. Tennis instills confidence, character, sportsmanship and teamwork, which are important skills on a court, in a classroom and throughout life. Some of the members on the USTA Presidential Task Force include Intercollegiate Tennis Association Executive Director David A Benjamin, NCAA President Mark Emmert and US Department of Education senior staff member David Whitman.

Defending champion Milos Raonic joins Roddick and Monfils in 2012 SAP Open field in San Jose

The SAP Open just announced that defending singles champion Milos Raonic of Canada has committed to the 2012 tournament, joining three-time champion and SAP Ambassador Andy Roddick and world No. 7 Gael Monfils. The 2012 SAP Open will take place from February 13-19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Additionally, tennis hall of famer John McEnroe will headline a doubles exhibition match on Monday, February 13 at 7 p.m. “We are pleased to welcome defending champion Milos Raonic and this very strong group of world-class players back to the SAP Open in 2012,” said Bill Rapp, Tournament Director. “And with John McEnroe already scheduled to play the Monday night exhibition doubles match, the 2012 SAP Open promises to be one of the best and most entertaining tournaments in recent history.” In the 2011 tournament, Raonic used his powerful serve and groundstroke game to defeat Fernando Verdasco in two tiebreak sets to capture his first ATP World Tour singles title. “Winning your first career title is something you’ll always remember, so the SAP Open will always be special to me,” said Raonic. “The tournament is a fantastic event and I’m looking forward to returning to San Jose in 2012 to defend the title.” Ticket packages and group tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (408) ACE-2121. Individual session tickets will go on sale starting in January 2012. Additional information about the SAP Open can be found on the official tournament website at www.sapopentennis.com.

Borden Dairy Company partners with USTA

The Borden Dairy Company, one of the most trusted milk brands in the dairy industry, recently announced that they are teaming up for a strategic partnership with the USTA to encourage young people across the nation to get active, try the sport of tennis and live a healthy lifestyle as part of the USTA’s youth tennis initiative. “Borden Dairy is pleased to partner with the USTA to help promote healthy habits and active lifestyles in children of all ages,” said Steve McCormick, CEO of Borden Dairy Company. “Together we hope to instill the important role high-quality nutritious milk and tennis can have in raising happy, healthy kids.” As part of the one-year agreement, Borden will promote youth tennis through in-store retail promotions and on in-school milk packaging. Additionally, Borden had signage at the 2011 US Open, which completed on Monday when Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal for his first title in New York.“The USTA is committed to getting more kids involved in our sport and our new 10 And Under Tennis initiative is making great strides in this area,” said Sue Hunt, Managing Director of Marketing, USTA. “Through this partnership with such a high-quality, well-known milk brand, we expect to extend this initiative even further, and get even more kids active and playing our sport.”

New United States Professional Tennis Association’s National Board of Directors announced

Results are in for the United States Professional Tennis Association’s (USPTA) new National Board of Directors after a highly contested election. Nancy Cox, Gary Trost, Jeff Hawes, Dan Moster and Tom McGraw will serve as Vice Presidents, and will join president, Tom Daglis and first Vice President, Randy Mattingley. The new USPTA Board of Directors will take office later this month at the World Conference on Tennis from September 19-24, at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla., and will serve the association until September 2013.

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About Justin Cohen
Justin Cohen is a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Specialization in Journalism and was a member of the varsity tennis team, where he and his teammates finished as the runner-up at the 2006 NCAA Division II Men’s Tennis Championships. Justin began writing his weekly column, “This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen” in July 2009. The following month, he covered the ATP/WTA Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati, Ohio interviewing most of the top ranked players in the world. A lifelong tennis enthusiast who has enjoyed traveling to many professional tennis tournaments, Justin has much experience in the tennis industry. Previously, he worked at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in Princeton, New Jersey, and also completed summer internships in ticket sales at the ATP/WTA Tour Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati and in marketing at the Tennis Channel in Los Angeles.

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