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SBD Global/December 28, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rafael Nadal The Latest Top Tennis Player To Leave IMG

Tennis player Rafael Nadal is "preparing to join Roger Federer and leave IMG Worldwide ... just as it announces the recruitment of Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1, to its portfolio of sporting stars," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. When Federer "declined to sign the new contract offered by IMG in May, the upshot was bound to be a realignment of the representative forces in tennis." The prospect of Nadal "taking a similar decision -- setting up on his own with his father, Sebastián, and Carlos Costa, his manager, taking care of his business enterprises -- prompted the pursuit of Djokovic." IMG Tennis Senior VP & Managing Dir Fernando Soler was in Monaco earlier this month "to finalise negotiations" with Djokovic, and persuade him to "move from" CAA to "become its tennis top dog." The next story is "whether Andy Murray will re-sign for XIX Entertainment, which has managed him for the past three years." The signs are that, "despite moves from IMG and Lagardère Unlimited to prise him away from the company owned by Simon Fuller, the music entrepreneur, that Murray will remain loyal" (LONDON TIMES, 12/22).

THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT: USA TODAY's Jon Swartz reported Nadal has a new iPhone app called Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy that "will be available within the next few days on iTunes." The app, "developed with video-analysis firm Vstrator," offers "in-depth tennis tutorials of Nadal's strokes, along with Vstrator's easy-to-use video coaching tools." Video can be recorded or "imported from a smartphone camera into the app." So-called "Vstrate" technology lets users "highlight video to zero in on any part of their game." Users of the app can "frame video forward and back to compare their technique with Nadal and other players." Vstrator video "can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or text message" (USA TODAY, 12/26).

WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES...: In Bangkok, Kittipong Thongsombat reported sister golfers Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn will sign three-year contracts with IMG this week. The company "began approaching the sisters last year." Moriya, 18, was a co-medalist at the LPGA qualifying school, while Ariya, 17, was winner at the Ladies European Tour qualifying school. Both will begin their professional campaigns in Australia next month, and their father, Somboon, "believes they will do well in their rookie season" (BANGKOK POST, 12/27).
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