Baghdatis' Aussie Meltdown A Mixed Blessing For Former Racket Supplier
Tennis player Marcos Baghdatis during his second-round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open Wednesday smashed four tennis rackets in a fit of anger, and Tecnifibre Project Manager Sebastien Grimaud said that "coverage of Baghdatis' meltdown resulted in 'a quite complex situation'" for the France-based racket company, according to Jeff Bercovici of FORBES.com. The company dropped its sponsorship of Baghdatis at the end of '11, but it "never publicly announced that it had parted way" with the 44th-ranked player. Tecnifibre is "no longer listed among the sponsors" on Baghdatis' personal website, though his "profile still credits 'Tecnifiber' as the maker of his racket and strings." However, the attention "is not necessarily all negative." Grimaud said, "This may have actually been some good marketing for our BtoB communications." Bercovici noted the company has "resisted cashing in on its former endorser's newfound notoriety." Grimaud: "It is not our job to worsen his situation" (FORBES.com, 1/19). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, “I looked at this highlight now several times. I didn't see a logo. If you're the manufacturer and this guy’s trashing your racquets, you are angry." Wilbon: "What he's basically saying is, ‘I am blaming the equipment'" (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/18).
FOR A GOOD CAUSE: In Melbourne, Jon Ralph reports Australian Open officials have been "inundated with calls from organisations keen to sell off Marcos Baghdatis' smashed racquets for charity." No one with the event was "quite sure where the four racquets went after Baghdatis snapped four of them late on Wednesday night," but they are "hot property despite their mangled state" (Melbourne HERALD SUN, 1/20).