HEAD has just launched a digital campaign for Andy Murray’s new YouTek™ IG Tour Radical racquet series.
The centrepiece of the campaign is a surprising film in which Andy thinks about what kind of creative job he could have had, if he hadn’t become a pro tennis player. Barber? Chef? Rockstar?

The making of:

As part of the campaign, HEAD invites tennis fans and social media users to win the opportunity to also switch their job and, for one day, have the chance to experience the life of a tennis pro – together with Andy Murray
of course. The competition is hosted exclusively on the HEAD Facebook site www.facebook.com/headtennis.

This kinda reminds me of this adidas commercial with Stefan Edberg:

What you think, which commercial do you prefer: HEAD/Murray or adidas/Edberg?

Grand Slam Tennis 2, the latest installment of the tennis franchise was released last month by EA Sports, and for few fortunates, there is this VIP Pack. Comes with everything you will need on an actual tennis court, from Babolat tennis racquet to specially branded Lacoste polo shirt, Wilson tennis balls for U.S. Open, and a pair of Grand Slam Tennis 2 Rod Laver tennis shoes from adidas Originals. In case the confines of the great outdoor isn’t your thing, the VIP Pack also includes the game itself, the PlayStation 3 console, and the PS3 Move accessories. Each conveniently packaged in a customized duffle bag, there is all but one draw back – only 20 of these will be available worldwide.

Read More

adidas has officially launched miCoach Tennis, a brand new app for the iPhone. The app allows you to collect performance data with the miCoach SPEED_CELL, an interactive device from adidas that sits within a cavity of the adipower Barricade 7.0 tennis shoes or can be clipped onto your laces to measure speed, rallies and distance covered during your tennis matches or training sessions.

Read More

It’s been 80 years since a Japanese player the Grand Slam has seen a Japanese player reach the action in the quarterfinals. Kei Nishikori has done just that at this year’s Australian Open, rocking some sweat absorbing UNIQLO gear.

UNIQLO tennis wear

UNIQLO is developing a new line of tennis wear that will mimic the match wear worn by Nishikori at the 2012 Australian Open. The collection will include 12 items, ranging from apparel to accessories. Shirts, shorts, warm-ups, hats, wristbands, socks and a tennis bag are among the offerings.
The new line uses Uniqlo’s new Dry-Ex fabric, that absorbs perspiration, dries quickly, and is thin, light and breathable. Flat seam stitching provides extra comfort.

UNIQLO tennis wear

UNIQLO tennis wear

UNIQLO tennis wear

Prices of the clothing line range from 3,900 yen ($50) for shorts and tops to 6,990 yen ($90) for warm-up jackets. Accessories such as wristbands, a cap and a bag will also be available, ranging in price from 790 yen ($10) to 5,990 yen ($77).

The first pieces in the series will be released on April 2 and will be available only online in Japan and at the retailer’s new flagship in Tokyo’s Ginza district, opening March 16.

UNIQLO has sponsored Nishikori since last year, when it started creating one-off pieces for the athlete to wear during matches. Previously sponsored by adidas, Nishikori chose UNIQLO partly because it offered “greater long-term potential for Kei to earn money,” IMG agent Olivier Van Lindonk said.

“Uniqlo can become a partner for Kei for a long time, even after his playing days are over”.

When Novak Djokovic cut his ties with adidas in favour of agreeing a 10-year deal with Sergio Tacchini in November 2009, many saw the announcement as being no great loss. Particularly when you consider that a player of similar stature (at the time) Britain’s Andy Murray signed a long-term, multi-million pound deal with adidas shortly after. Since that point however, the man they call ‘Nole’ has been formidable, blitzing all those that come before him, winning Grand Slam titles in the process and building a huge global following. In contrast, Andy Murray has now lost in three Grand Slam finals, and until recently has been struggling for form, casting doubt over his potential to achieve his ultimate ambition of winning a major championships.

For now however, the focus has to be on Djokovic and indeed Sergio Tacchini. The Chinese-owned brand has quite rightly bombarded the homepage of its central website with images of the tennis superstar, highlighting his position as global ambassador, referencing his third Australian Open win and even launching his own clothing line. A recent post I published on the Insight Sport blog touched upon the benefits of sponsors of major sporting events such as the Olympic Games aligning themselves with a portfolio of athletes as opposed to ‘putting all their eggs in one basket’ so to speak and focusing on one specific athlete – for a company the size of Sergio Tacchini it has little choice.

With an annual revenue of less than $50 million, the sportswear brand is reliant on Djokovic continuing his excellent form, whilst it can also fall back on his long term tennis heritage, having sponsored players such as John McEnroe, Pat Cash, Martina Hingis and Goran Ivanisevic in past times. In comparison, the likes of adidas and Nike are in a different league, with both sponsoring a number of high profile tennis stars across the men’s and women’s games. And with Nike recording revenues of $2.55 billion and the adidas $4.7 billion in Q3, 2011. At this point, one can only wonder at the impact Novak Djokovic could have had as an ambassador for adidas should it have retained the World Number one as an ambassador.

However all is not lost…

Adopting a long-term perspective, should Britain’s number one win a Grand Slam – he is showing signs of improvement under new coach Ivan Lendl – the effect could go beyond that of his close friend and nemesis. Given his nationality and the popularity of tennis in the UK, his appeal would reach out not only across his homeland, but also globally, given his delay in achieving what many say is his destiny. Djokovic meanwhile has hit his mesmeric heights now, there is evidence to suggest that Murray is slowly closing the gap, whilst Djokovic’s relatively small home market of Serbia is not one of significant importance to the adidas brand.

For now, one thing is clear, Djokovic is the driving force in men’s tennis, and deserves the accolades he is receiving, and Sergio Tacchini is revelling in his successes. Until Andy Murray wins a Slam, adidas must simply face up to the fact that they missed a trick in releasing Djokovic, although should that day arrive where Murray comes face to face with destiny, expect adidas to turn around and give a big ‘I told you so’ in the direction of those who doubted.

By Andreas Plastiras

Check out Andreas’ blog Snap Shot Sport