April 2001
US Open Champion signs multi-million dollar deal

Dunlop has announced the signing of a 4 year, multi-million dollar deal with Russian tennis ace Marat Safin. Under the agreement, 21 year old Safin will play the Dunlop Muscle Weave 200G racquet from the start of April.

Safin took the tennis world by storm in 2000 becoming the youngest U.S. Open Champion for a decade as well as breaking a host of tournament win records on his way to holding the #1 ranking in the World in September last year. His victories earned him praise from all quarters, and his powerful game paired with his approachable style have led him to be branded "the future of tennis".

This latest announcement marks a significant next step in the rejuvenation of the Dunlop brand, and the company's plans to return to the top of tennis.The new approach is summed up by the strapline "Made of the Right Stuff" which encompasses the company's philosophy of working with the world's best players and developing sports equipment that is tested to physical, mental and emotional extremes. The signing also builds further on the successes that have come for the brand in recent months including the introduction of the Dunlop Abzorber tennis ball, the launch of the new Muscle Weave Inferno racquet, and the signing of John McEnroe in a unique deal to promote and endorse the whole range of Dunlop Tennis Balls.

In signing Safin, Dunlop continues its long heritage of association with the world's best players, a tradition that stretches back to include Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Steffi Graf - all of whom played with Dunlop racquets for much of their careers - and the Russian will be joining an elite stable of increasingly impressive players making up the current Dunlop Tour Team. At the end of 2000, 5 of the World's top 25 players were using the 200G, including former U.S Open finalist Mark Philippoussis, Cedric Pioline, Tommy Haas, and Wayne Ferreira.

Safin, the current World #2 said; "I have been looking for a racquet that really gives me the confidence to go for my shots and the 200G does just that - delivering the highest levels of control and feel for my game without compromising on power. Dunlop is one of the greatest names in tennis and it's great to be part of a team that has such a drive and commitment to making sports equipment that can be relied on during those key points in a match."

Phil Parnell, Group CEO of Dunlop said: "We are delighted to announce the signing of Marat Safin which represents the latest stage in our long-term investment plan for re-building Dunlop's position in tennis. With his emotional play and strength of character he is a perfect fit with the Dunlop brand, and as a player he is definitely made of the right stuff. I'm sure we haven't seen the best of Marat yet and we are looking forward to a very long and successful relationship with him."