Health Club Chain Virgin Active Signs Tennis Player Laura Robson
Health club chain Virgin Active Ltd., owned by U.K. billionaire Richard Branson, has signed a deal with British tennis player Laura Robson, according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. Robson, who won junior Wimbledon in '08 at the age of 14, "will become the chain’s first tennis ambassador for two years." Virgin "declined to give financial details" on the agreement, which starts on March 4 to coincide with World Tennis Day. Virgin Active Head of Racquets Gary Stewart said, "She’s a perfect fit for our brand because she’s fit and she’s young and she’s successful." Virgin has more than 100 clubs in the U.K. "including 21 with racquet sports." It spent more than £1M ($1.5M) on new court surfaces and facilities since it took over the sites from Esporta (BLOOMBERG, 2/26). In London, Neil Harman wrote "it is a natural progression for Robson" to go from Wimbledon junior champion, blooming international talent, mixed doubles Olympic silver medalist to a spot in the top 50. Tuesday, she reveled in her status "as the 'it' girl of the Virgin brand," and was enthralled at the chance to meet Branson. Robson: “I’ve always said I wanted to encourage more young girls into playing this sport and this is the perfect fit. The whole Olympic experience last year was designed to inspire a generation, and with what we will try to achieve with these programmes, the innovations, I think we will” (LONDON TIMES, 2/27).