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Sania signs up an agent

Bangalore: Sixteen-year-old Sania Mirza, the first Indian girl to make the top 10 in the world junior rankings, announced that she was signing with Globosport, a sports management firm owned by tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, on Wednesday.

The announcement follows her decision last week to come out of the All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) sponsorship, enabling her to pursue corporate sponsorships.

“The decision represents a significant landmark in Indian tennis with Sania becoming the first women’s tennis player to sign with a professional sports management firm,” a Globosport press release said here.

“The step also allows women’s tennis to step into the previously male bastion of sports sponsorship that has traditionally been dominated by the big five — cricket, racing, golf, football and men’s tennis.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the firm would be responsible for raising all necessary funds for Sania to launch an onslaught in the WTA circuit. This includes the costs of travel, accommodation, coaching and equipment. In addition, the company would also help her in entering tournaments and obtaining wild cards for WTA Tour events.

“Instead of just exploiting established stars, we want to promote all sports, and support the best young sportspersons in India, people who can become global stars. Sania clearly falls into this category. She is the best young women’s player in Asia, and the best in Indian tennis history,” Mahesh Bhupathi, MD and CEO of Globosport, said. “We have a unique opportunity to help her reach the top echelons of the sport and I urge companies to look beyond the over-cluttered cricket space, and support this outstanding talent.”

“For me to make a serious impact on the senior ranks, I needed to have a world-class professional set-up where I could focus on the tennis, and not worry about how I would fund my travel and coaching,” Sania was quoted as saying in the release.

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