King Karlovic: No love for the Ace Machine

published: Aug, 13, 2015

by: Nima Naderi

by: Sam Cooper

The Brobdingnagian Ivo Karlovic. The tennis player that fans do not wish to watch. Whilst working at Wimbledon as a court attendant for two years, you’d hear the occasional sighs and despair of the persons who had tickets for a court with Karlovic starring on it; and to make it far worse, his canvas, the court where he would display his work, was grass. Thus, the serve becomes a more potent weapon, sliding past the returner in an almost unfair manner. You can tell people think to themselves, “All he has is a serve, he is nothing without it”.

I watched him this year at Wimbledon from my TV screen at home. His size is an attribute that of course makes him different; the giant of giants. What caught my eye, however, was his lack of sponsorship. He exhibited a mismatch of brands – a Head cap twinned with an Adidas t-shirt. The only constant being his adherence to the white dress code synonymous with the All England Club. At his next tournament in Newport, where he reached the final, during one of his matches he sported the same Head cap, but with a yellow Reebok t-shirt. Reebok haven’t ventured near tennis at the professional level since Roddick and Venus Williams a number of years ago – I doubt they are trying to resurrect their place in the tennis market by giving Karlovic a t-shirt to wear.

This did not sit well with me. It is a rarity in tennis these days to not see a sponsored player – juniors included. Not necessarily the multi-million pound deals of the Federer’s and Nadal’s of this world, but nevertheless, some sought of alliance between a certain brand and a certain player. I, of course, do not know the specificities of Karlovic’s current sponsorship deals, or lack of them, but it is pretty clear to deduce that wearing differing brands at varying points during the year so far is a fair indication that he does not possess a clothing sponsorship at the present time.

Sportsmen and women have, over the years, become human billboards, displaying an abundance of emblems and logos that all have significant monetary benefits. Within the realm of tennis, Karlovic is one of the largest human billboards in the game at present, and is extremely hard to miss standing at 6 ft 11. Whilst it is true that he cannot claim to have the most exciting look or outrageous shotmaking ability of a Dustin Brown or Nick Kyrgios, surely at 36 and still going strong within the worlds top 50, ranked at 23 as I write this, he has surely amalgamated enough credentials for some sort of relatively lucrative sponsorship deal. Has he not?

Nima Naderi

http://www.tennisconnected.com

Founder and Creative Director of TennisConnected.com. He has over 25 years of coaching experience and is an award winning coach with the PTR. Nima has written articles for the ATPWorldTour.com, TennisCanada.com, TennisViewMagazine and Tennis Pro Magazine. He is also the co-host of the TennisConnected PodCast, the Operations Director for Premium Court and the Tournament Director for the Caribbean Cup Tennis Series.

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