trophy watch: even thirty years after the fact, it's just as sweet



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Congrats to Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who has been officially recognized by the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as one of 16 women to hold the No. 1 ranking in the Open era. The distinction came over thirty years later because not all of Goolagong’s points were transferred onto computers when the rankings system debuted in 1975. Goolagong held the No. 1 spot from April 26 to May 9, 1976, after beating Chris Evert 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 at the prestigious Virginia Slims Championships in Los Angeles.

From her home in Australia, Goolagong told the SEWTA that she was delighted to receive the award. For those months in 1976, she felt she was playing the best tennis on tour. “I am happy and gratified that what I felt at the time has now been recognised officially. It’s personally very satisfying and this has been the best Christmas present.”

And Bud Collins chimes in:

“Hurrahs to the diggers who discovered that Evonne Goolagong should have been ranked No.1 during 1976, not No.2. It took a while, but never too late for justice. This fact will be noted in the next edition of my Tennis Encyclopedia in 2008.”

Nice plug, Bud! (And yes, for those factoid nuts out there, Bud will be releasing a new edition of his tennis tome in 2008.)

(SEWTA)

k-swiss signs tommy haas and a new ad agency



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From three-stripe to five-stripe: The pre-2008 moving and shaking continues with SoCal sports outfitter K-Swiss announcing a three-year partnership with German Tommy Haas beginning at the 2008 Australian Open.

Tommy will wear K-Swiss threads for his matches and make personal appearances on behalf of the brand. He’ll also assist in the design of future athletic collections, a task he looks forward to. “I am obviously excited about the performance tennis styles,” says Haas, “but [am] also eager to collaborate on off court opportunities as well.”

And K-Swiss, of course, is just as excited. Erik Vervloet, Director of Sports Marketing, adds, “Tommy will be an invaluable asset in showcasing our current product offerings and developing future styles. We look forward to working closely with him and are proud to have him representing K-Swiss in the upcoming Grand Slams.”

No longer Limited: This is a big jump for Tommy, who had been wallowing (at least stylistically) in his partnership with Limited Sports in recent years (he was with Nike before that); Limited had provided him with a lackluster collection only made interesting by the occasional monogrammed cap. As he told Tennis Week, he moves to the big leagues with K-Swiss and is excited to be involved with the company:

“K-Swiss is making a big jump within the last year promoting the brand with a lot of the athletes, like Anna Kournikova, appearing in magazines and television commercials. K-Swiss is known for their shoes, which are very good ones. [...] I got to look at the new K-Swiss stuff for next year, the new technology they’re using in their tennis shoes, which is all very exciting stuff so I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

And while it was he got on board too late to give feedback about the Spring 2008 line, Tommy will definitely give notes for future collections. He tells Tennis Week, “They’re interested in your ideas so if you have a favorite color or the kind of quality of material you like to wear, they try to incorporate that.”

Sleeveless scandal: This K-Swiss collection will include a sleeveless top (pictured above), a style which the German was instrumental in bringing to popular tennis consciousness. In a widely documented to-do at the 2002 U.S. Open, Tommy walked onto the court for his first round match in a sleeveless shirt. Court officials deemed the attire inappropriate per Grand Slam rules, so he was asked to change. (Mind you, this is the same year Serena played her matches in a catsuit. The outfit obtained the necessary approvals, so it was okay to wear on court.)

And at that point, for better or for worse, the sleeveless shirt began its appearance on the ATP Tour. (Read more on Tommy’s reaction to the situation.)

New ads, new agency: Also part of Tommy’s agreement will be to appear in a global K-Swiss ad campaign debuting in February. It’ll feature the company’s other sponsored athletes, and will make rounds on TV, in print, on the web, and outdoor venues. The company has tapped Toth Brand Imaging out of Cambridge, Mass., to handle the campaign.

Cross your fingers: Here’s hoping the switch works. K-Swiss suffered a third quarter earnings drop to $12.8 million on $107 million in revenue compared to earnings of $21 million on $133 million in revenue for the same quarter in 2006.

(photo via Tennis Week and Newscom; additional reporting via Adweek, Tennis Week)

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adidas signs sania mirza



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The musical chairs of clothing sponsorship continues with adidas announcing on Monday that it has signed Sania Mirza as its first Indian Global Brand Ambassador. This explains the photo we posted earlier.

Sania’s multi-year agreement is effective immediately. I haven’t found out yet which line she’ll be wearing (my two cents: her bustiness will make the Competition tops look awesome; sorry, Justine).

In Sania, adidas has one of the most outspoken and polarizing athletes in Asia. She constantly butts heads with religious conservatives who look down on her piercings and “short” skirts. None of the fatwas issued against her have gained popular support, so it’s smart for the sports clothing company to harness this celebrity.

Sania: You’re no longer with Lotto — you’re playing with the big girls now. Tame your forehand, plan a smarter schedule so you’re less injured, and don’t let adidas down!

Press release after the cut.

is sania with adidas?



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Indian tennis star Sania Mirza poses for a photo shoot on a yacht in the Arabian Sea. She is clearly wearing adidas. Does this mean anything about her sponsorship (at least on the court) with Lotto?

(photo by Getty Images; thanks Magnus!)

bows bow out at the aussie open, aka vaidisova in reebok



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Rich at Down the Line! has been working double-duty the last few days (and thank god for that, because TSF’s been doing to much holiday partying and not enough blogging!).

One of his more recent posts is a peek at the spring 2008 dress of soon-might-be-married Czech Nicole Vaidisova. The coral dress, from Reebok, will probably make an appearance at next month’s the Australian Open.

Bows bow out: This very feminine accent was all over the ladies dresses last year — on Serena (briefly) at the U.S. Open, on Masha’s corset at the Aussie Open, and on the various shades of Vaidisova’s 2007 dress. Nicole will start out the year sans bow, as will Serena, who’ll begin her year tunic-style.

Bright and solid: As we mentioned last month, Reebok’s other shade for 2008 will likely be the aqua on Jelena Jankovic.

(photo by vaidisova-nicole.com via DTL)