Lleyton Hewitt embroiled in bitter legal battle with former management

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by TheNatural, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

    Jan 27, 2005
    Interesting article discloses all of his non match pay earnings from a few years ago.

    Lleyton Hewitt embroiled in bitter legal battle with former management

    By Norrie Ross | February 26, 2009, Herald Sun

    # Tennis star in fight with former management
    # Lleyton Hewitt paid $6.75m in 2005 and 2006
    # Paid $340,000 just to turn up at tournaments

    TENNIS star Lleyton Hewitt is embroiled in a bitter legal fight with his former management company, which has exposed his amazing multi-million dollar endorsements and media deals.

    In a battle as big as any he faced on the tennis court, Hewitt is accused of breaching the Trade Practices Act, reneging on agreements and breaching exclusive contracts.

    Hewitt has returned serve with claims against Octagon Inc of misleading and deceptive conduct, unjust enrichment and management incompetence, the Herald Sun reports.

    Court documents contain claims that in 2005 and 2006 Hewitt was paid a net total of $6.75 million from endorsements and tournament guarantees.

    New Idea magazine paid Hewitt $84,000, Nike $3.5 million, Yonex racquets $2.3 million and Optus $130,000, it is claimed.

    He received $330,000 for endorsing tennis games for two video companies.

    Tournament organisers in Sydney, Adelaide and at Queen's in London paid him $340,000 just to turn up. In those years his world ranking dropped from two to 20.

    The documents reveal that Channel 7 agreed to pay Lleyton Hewitt Management $600,000 from February 2005 to January 2007 for appearances and interviews.

    Octagon Inc, a US-based sports management company, has sued Hewitt and LHM in the Victorian Supreme Court claiming it was entitled to a bigger slice of his earnings from 2000 onwards.

    Hewitt, 28, and LHM have given Octagon a backhander saying that they severed ties with the company at the end of 2004.

    "On 29 August, 2005 an interview with Tom Ross of Octagon was published in Tennis Week magazine wherein Ross acknowledged that Octagon no longer managed Hewitt's affairs," they say in their defences.

    They also claim that Octagon wrongly received $939,000 in fees and mismanaged a dispute with the Association of Tennis Professionals through breach of contract and negligence.

    Hewitt says that in 2001 in New York he instructed Kelly Wolf, an Octagon employee, that he would not take part in interviews with sports broadcaster ESPN.

    The former world No. 1 says this led to a long-running wrangle that ended with the ATP fining him $161,000 for breaching his interview obligations under its "ATP Stars" program.

    In his defences to the Octagon claims, Hewitt says that an ATP appeal cost him $153,000 in legal fees and the fine was reduced to $30,000.

    In June, 2003 Hewitt took the ATP to the South Australian Supreme Court and spent $434,000 in legal fees unsuccessfully trying to overturn the reduced fine.

    Hewitt has career prizemoney of $27 million.

    In its statement of claim, Octagon says that in 2000 Hewitt retained it to represent and market him and manage his career.

    The agreement was exclusive, worldwide and included product endorsements, ATP tournament guarantees, exhibitions and clinics, TV and speaking appearances, licensing agreements, corporate sponsorships, modelling, books, films and PR.

    It said Hewitt agreed to pay Octagon between 16-20 per cent of his earnings on a sliding scale depending on his ranking, Grand Slam and ATP tour performances.

    In a year where Hewitt won a Grand Slam tournament the rates of pay were varied to reflect his boosted earnings. Octagon says that in October, 2004 Hewitt's father, Glynn, gave it notice of his desire to terminate the contract and it expired on December 31 that year.

    The case is due back in the Supreme Court in April for pre-trial argument.
  2. Aldi Patron

    Aldi Patron Rookie

    Jul 8, 2008
    Goodness. I wonder what Hewitt's career would look like if he'd taken that interview with ESPN in 2001.
  3. marc45

    marc45 G.O.A.T.

    May 29, 2008
    alot of suits for sure
  4. viktorkwan

    viktorkwan Rookie

    Dec 17, 2008
    Sydney + HK
    Interesting that Octagon has decided to sue Hewitt...

    From memory, I can't recall a sports management company suing its ex-clients who are tennis stars.

    Also interesting that the amount of appearance money he had received is being disclosed. I read somewhere that the ATP tour frowns on appearance money, especially with Agassi and Kafelnikov tanking some first-round matches in some smaller tournaments back in the late 90s but still got paid more than the eventual champion by virtue of appearance money.

    A significant amount of a top pro's (or a very marketable pro's) annual income is being derived from appearance money, but such amounts have never been previously disclosed.

    Take a look at the number of top players that play at sometimes smaller tournaments but held in cities where organisers have deep pockets...e.g. Dubai, Qatar, Bangkok etc.

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