SBJ/November 26 - December 2, 2001/Labor Agents

Octagon signs Mary Pierce through December 2002

Octagon has signed two-time Grand Slam champion Mary Pierce to a representation contract.

Pierce left her longtime agency, IMG, in May and has not played since because of injury. Since her French Open title in June 2000, Pierce's play has been on a steady slope downward.

But Pierce plans to compete in January at a tournament in Hobart, Australia, said Micky Lawler, vice president of Octagon. The agency is petitioning the Sanex WTA Tour to give Pierce the ranking she had at her last tournament (No. 18) rather than the computer-assigned one she has now (No. 130).

Pierce's only endorsement deal is with Nike, and it expires at the end of next year. She plays with Yonex rackets but does not have a deal with the Japanese sports equipment maker despite IMG's efforts to sign one last year.

Lawler said the focus is not on endorsements but to get Pierce physically ready for returning to competitive tennis.

"The priority is to get her healthy," said Lawler, who added that Octagon did not offer any marketing guarantees to sign the 26-year-old Pierce and said she is "obviously one of the top marquee players."

Pierce's contract with Octagon lasts through Dec. 31, 2002, with an option to renew at that time.

Pierce was born in Canada but claims French citizenship, though she also resides part time in Florida.

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