SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/No Topic Name

IMG continues dominance in Grand Slam events with 8th consecutive win

Tennis and sports are abuzz over the possibility of Jennifer Capriati winning the Grand Slam. But with Capriati's victory in the French Open finals nine days ago, her agent, IMG, can boast a perhaps even more impressive stretch of victories: It has represented the last eight female winners of tennis' Grand Slam tournaments.

Not since Steffi Graf won the French Open in 1999 (and who not incidentally was the last player, in 1988, to collect the Grand Slam) has IMG been shut out of the winner's circle. Graf is represented by Octagon. In fact, going back to the start of 1997, a period that now includes 18 Grand Slam events, only two female winners were not represented by IMG.

"It helps on the recruitment side and the marketing side," said Stephanie Tolleson, head of women's tennis at IMG. "You are aware of all the numbers, what the previous Grand Slam winners are getting [for their endorsements]. Companies know you are marketing from a position of strength."

On the men's side of the equation, the story is not as robust for IMG. Fewer than half of the men's winners since the start of 1997 were solely IMG clients. The company has been hurt by the defection of Andre Agassi, who left for SFX Sports prior to his 2000 Australian Open victory, and by seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, whose management is now split between IMG and Michael Ovitz's AMG.

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