Originally Posted by Taxvictim
I really like Jelena Jankovic, but was shocked watching last night's match against Ivanovic that Jelena was playing with a blacked out racquet with no logo on her strings. Has she fallen so far that she can't even get a racquet sponsor?
For the uninitiated, if a racquet maker won't pay the player using their racquet, players will spray the frame black and will not stencil the logo on the strings. They don't want to give the manufacturer free advertising.
I was under the impression that many pros have equipment-only sponsorships. They're provided with racquets and varying degrees of other equipment, but not paid to endorse the company (hence, the difference between sponsorship and endorsement). That way the company gets a little bit of advertising from the player's use of the rackets, and it also ups the company's percentage of the market,and the players get equipment. It would make sense to provide equipment to lower ranked players - they may not be as visible, but they are seen when playing top players in the early rounds, and if a lot of them are using a certain brand of racket, people see that.