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French cosmetics company Guinot bets on tennis underdogs

The company has started making spur-of-the-moment endorsement deals with lower-ranked players

Ben Rothenberg | NYT 

Virginie Razzano, French tennis player, tennis player
Virginie Razzano, French tennis player

Sweden’s Robin Soderling, who was ranked 25th in 2009, stuns No. 1 at that year’s French Open, where he had been undefeated. At the same tournament three years later, the 111th-ranked (pictured) of France beats in the first round. At this year’s Australian Open, the 117th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan defeats

Besides rocking the tennis world with their upset victories, all of these long-shot winners had another thing in common: Each wore sponsored patches from the company Guinot on their outfits, as have hundreds of other winners and (mostly) losers in high-profile matches.

Guinot has developed an approach to maximise exposure at the world’s marquee tennis events by making spur-of-the-moment endorsement deals with lower-ranked players who are scheduled to face the biggest stars.

Though other occasionally enter similar short-term deals — the high-end grocer has tried it at the United States Open this year — Guinot is the most prominent practitioner in tennis. Its current programme, handled by the agency IMG, began in 2008. After the order of play is made for the next day, IMG contacts the agents of players who are scheduled on the tournament’s biggest courts. With players who are not contractually restricted from wearing additional patches, negotiations begin.

Roughly eight to 10 deals are struck at each Grand Slam event.

“All the agents know who to contact when they have a player who might have a patch available and it’s on a show court,” said Sam Duvall, an agent and president of Topnotch Management.

Guinot and IMG declined to comment for this article. Players are offered a few thousand dollars per patch, which are pre-made and bear the corporate logo. The amount increases based on the player’s ranking and round of the tournament, stopping around $10,000. Three players have won Grand Slam titles wearing Guinot patches: Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 and 2009 champion; Samantha Stosur, who won the 2011 US Open; and the 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.
©2017 The New York Times News Service

First Published: Mon, September 04 2017. 22:40 IST