Hewitt’s sponsorship actually costs him publicity

THE top drawcard of Australian tennis, Lleyton Hewitt, is no longer one of the faces of the Australian Open after an embarrassing administrative bungle by Tennis Australia.

Hewitt’s quest to win his home grand slam is compulsive viewing every January, guaranteeing massive television ratings, ticket sales and revenue for Tennis Australia, but his image was pulled from promotional material on Hewitt’s orders because the photo it chose did not show the name of his sponsor, Yonex.

Roger Federer, Marcos Baghdatis, Maria Sharapova and Amelie Mauresmo are the headline acts in Hewitt’s absence.

“It was a simple case of human error in terms of using Lleyton’s image in unbranded clothing,” Hewitt’s manager, Justin Cohen, told The Sun-Herald. “A window of opportunity was missed as far as him going out in all the headlined print material. He will still be used in television commercials and will be used to promote the Sydney and Adelaide events at the start of next month.

“An image was selected of Lleyton but he was wearing unbranded apparel, which was in conflict with his sponsor Yonex. That was the issue.”

The picture of Hewitt chosen for the nationwide print campaign was taken during the one event of his 10-year career at which he did not have a clothing sponsor: the Masters Series event in Cincinnati last year.

He had just left Nike and was yet to sign with Yonex, which was already his racquet supplier, in a multimillion-dollar deal. The photo was taken just before his contract with Yonex was unveiled at the US Open in New York. A phone call to Tennis Australia from Hewitt’s former manager, Rob Aivatoglou, in October demanded that Hewitt be taken off the posters. One day he was in the ads, the next he was not. Sydney Morning Herald

They should have used some of my photos of Lleyton. :)

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