Tennis' Newest Prince: James Blake
Blake Signs as Newest Member of Team Prince and Inks Long-Term Endorsement Deal to Develop and Launch New Racquet
"Relationships are important to me and this one just feels right. "
Prince Tennis announced today that James Blake, whose personal and professional comeback in 2005 gripped the tennis world, has joined Prince’s Touring Professional Team with a global, multi-faceted seven-year deal. The partnership involves Blake’s collaboration with Prince’s research and development experts to develop a racquet featuring O Technology that Blake will use on tour. This new racquet will launch in 2006 as part of Prince's best selling line of O3 Racquets.
When asked about Blake, Prince Sports' CEO, George Napier, said, "We are privileged and proud that James chose Prince to be his brand of equipment. He embodies the values our Team believes in and lives every day – integrity, respect, persistence, passion, and fearlessness. These characteristics were evident as his hero’s journey unfolded over the past year or so."
Blake was characteristically articulate when asked why he chose Prince from the many endorsement opportunities offered to him. "Everyone I met at Prince made me feel welcome. Relationships are important to me and this one just feels right. Also, the deal we developed is more than just a racquet endorsement. Prince is tapping my knowledge to help with product design, as well as some cool marketing initiatives focused on junior development. They are also enthusiastically supporting various charitable organizations that are important to me. And the equipment, O Technology is special and something I believe can help raise my game. The newest O3 we're going to launch later this year will be really sweet."
Napier continued, "I've been fortunate to get to know many professional athletes over the past 25 years in the sporting goods business, and this guy is, without a doubt, a remarkable person, in addition to his ‘way past ordinary’ athletic talents. James is going to be a huge part of our family and brand."
About James Blake
This past U.S. Open marked Blake’s fifth tournament appearance. In a series of memorable matches, he defied the critics and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Open.
His progress was even more amazing when you consider that just over a year ago, Blake wasn’t sure he’d ever play tennis again. On May 6th of 2004, Blake broke his neck while practicing at a tournament in Rome. In May, he developed shingles, and in July lost his father to cancer.
He came to the US Open ranked No. 49 and staged a remarkable comeback, defeating 2nd seed Rafael Nadal to achieve his best Grand Slam effort and reach the quarterfinals. He was later defeated in the quarterfinals by Andre Agassi in a fifth-set tiebreak. Blake’s signature stroke is his down-the-line winners from nearly impossible positions achieved by his “monster forehand.” He is also known for his extreme agility and masterful ability to cover the court.
About Prince Sports
Prince Sports, Inc., based in New Jersey, is a recognized leader in game-improvement technologies and engineering-based high-performance sports equipment. Since 1970, Prince and Ektelon have revolutionized tennis, squash and racquetball with innovations including “Oversize,” “Longbody” and “Extender” racquet technologies, Natural Foot Shape footwear technology, Synthetic Gut String and Electronic Ball Machines. In 2005, Prince introduced O3, another breakthrough that features an expanded sweet spot (up to 54 percent) and increased racquet speed, a combination only possible with O3 Technology. Prince Sports has operations on three continents and distribution in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.princetennis.com