SBD/January 24, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wozniacki's Yonex Deal Is Part Of Effort To Expand Her Brand Into Asia

Wozniacki switched to Yonex after her deal with Babolat ended
No. 1-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki "had long made it clear that she was open to a switch if it made commercial sense when her deal with Babolat ended," and she recently signed a "lucrative racket deal with Yonex after extensive off-season testing," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. Wozniacki's agent, Lagardere Unlimited Tennis President John Tobias, said the Yonex sponsorship is a "really strong commercial deal." Tobias: "It was also a little bit strategic because we really want to get her into Asia and expand her brand in Asia, and a Japanese company does that for us." But Clarey noted racket changes are "fraught with psychological danger," and the question is whether Wozniacki "will have enough faith in her new racket to reach her highest level." David Witt, who helps coach Venus Williams, said, "If you ask anybody, switching rackets is a risk. Especially when you've played with a racket for two or three years and that company knows you, and you're used to the racket. Even if another company says they are going to make a racket that's identical, unless they have the exact mold for that racket, it's not exactly the same" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/22).

"A" FOR EFFORT: SI.com's Jon Wertheim awarded Wozniacki an "A" in his Australian Open midterm grades. Wozniacki following her third-round match Friday opened her press conference by lightheartedly mocking the press and answering her own questions. With the "gutsy two-minute monologue," Wozniacki "did more to endear herself than any million dollar marketing campaign ever could" (SI.com, 1/23).
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