Originally Posted by MIGHTY MANFRED THE WONDER
Before you all get worked up... Please understand that SPONSORSHIP means, for the most part,(at least for juniors), discount packages- not free.
Now these packages go from pretty nice (like Babolat) to just a technique for selling older stuff at a discount and calling it a prefered package (Pretty much Adidas, Fila).
I think someones tag line on this board says it best. "Just let your racquet do the talking" the sponsors will find you. It is all about being a marketable product. Rankings, don't necessarily make you a marketable product either. Sometimes just being committed to the development of your game is enough to get the preferred packages at most 2nd tier companies, especially if you are still in the 12s, 14s.
These companies want solid kids, committed to the development of their game, and a good representation of their brand. As an example I know a player who lost all his "freebees" you name it, sticks, strings, shoes, bags the whole thing and he was highly ranked nationally. Why? Because the sponsors rep happened to be at a tournament where this young man was playing and noticed that he had a major temper attitude after almost every point he won or lost. Obnoxiously arrogant, but highly ranked. When I asked the rep why they pulled the package the reps answer was we don't have time to deal with someone that does not represent the brand professionally.