SportsBusiness Journal reports that Adidas is breaking into the tennis racket business next year and wants Novak Djokovic to endorse its new sticks. The article also points out that players like Marat Safin and James Blake both took piles of cash to switch rackets in the past, only to resort to painting their old rackets with the new logos because the change hurt their games. I can’t think of a worse time for Novak to switch his stick – he needs to stay consistent, keep the pressure on Roger and Rafa, and build on his previous successes. He’ll be crucified by the press if he drops out of the top three, and so much of his identity on tour is now based on his participation in the “trivalry.” But reportedly his Wilson deal runs out in December and his Adidas apparel contract is up at the end of 2009, so the time is ripe for renegotiation. I wonder what his parents want him to do? I can’t tell yet if they’re just rabid Novak fans or if they’re in it for the cash. . .
In other biz news, Maria Sharapova is now the “face” of Cole Haan’s new Sporting collection, and will “collaborate” on designs next season. Cole Haan is a subsidiary of Nike, her clothing sponsor. Nastia Liukin sat with her at the Cole Haan launch party and at the fashion week shows so that Maria could mentor her on how to become a global brand, no doubt. The girl really is a business woman – she’s probably made more in the past couple weeks with all of her sponsorship deals than she would have if she’d won the U.S. Open. But is she still motivated to return to the court? It has to be intimidating to come back from injury with Serena Williams at No. 1. (Btw: are you all used to saying – “World number one, Serena Williams,” yet? It almost makes too much sense.)
Finally, in another story from SportsBusiness Journal, Larry Scott, the WTA tour’s popular CEO, confirms that he’s been approached by the ATP to take over for the outgoing Etienne de Villiers but has declined the offer. Some think that he might end up leading both tours in some capacity, if the ATP splits the jobs of chairman of the board and CEO and gives Scott the chairman position.
The image of Maria and Nastia is via the always fab Down the Line! blog (and Getty Images)