Tennis marketers are convinced that when people watch good players, they want to try their rackets. THis is also the case with this racket.
When a tennis player finds a “stick” he really likes, he hates to give it up— even when someone will pay him millions to do so. For tennis racket companies, there is another moral: the earlier you can get your racket into the hands of young, promising players, the more likely they are to keep using it as they rise through the ranks.
The background of the babolat pure drive roddick tennis racquet is that Benhabiles’s player was an American junior almost no one had heard of, Andy Roddick. “I didn’t know much about him,” concedes Brownlee, who at the time was working for Prince. Back then, Roddick didn’t have a big reputation; in 1999, he lost in the first round of 2 of the junior grand slam tournaments. Volkl was the only other cooperation willing to give Roddick a racket, but he decided on Babolat because of his coach’s relationship with Appino.
A year later everything changed. Roddick won three out of the four boys’ majors and became the No. 1 junior in the world. Other juniors took notice, especially of his monster serve. Some actually phoned Babolat in France, to see if they too could get “Andy’s racket.” “If he had been out there with a broomstick,” says Rick Macci, who coached Roddick between ages 9 and 14, “I think people would have wanted to try a broomstick.”
Over the next three years, Roddick was the hottest thing in tennis, an electrifying player with a crowd-pleasing personality. And — how blessed can Babolat be? — he was American. If you are going to sell rackets in America, you need an American star.
Needless to say, it wasn’t long before Babolat was doing something it doesn’t often do: paying Roddick to endorse its rackets. His agent, Meyerson, negotiated a small six-figure deal in 2000, shortly after Roddick turned pro, and then a much larger deal in 2003, right around the time Roddick won the United States Open. That deal nets him millions a year. Would Roddick have changed rackets had Babolat low-balled him? Probably not. But the company decided not to take that risk. A happy endorser is always better than a grouchy one. Now the babolat pure drive roddick tennis racket is a hot seller.
I guess the tennis marketers were right.