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View Full Version : How Long Did Navratilova Violate Her Yonex Contract?


SelesFan70
Dec 7th, 2010, 05:09 AM
Back in the late 1980's, Navratilova used the exact same Dunlop racket Steffi used in an effort to keep up with Steffi, except Navratilova painted it and put her MN initials on the strings as if no one would notice. :rolleyes: I want to say she did this for 2 years. Anyone else remember the big stink about it? Pam Shriver, are you out there? :wavey:

calou
Dec 7th, 2010, 11:25 AM
Back in the late 1980's, Navratilova used the exact same Dunlop racket Steffi used in an effort to keep up with Steffi, except Navratilova painted it and put her MN initials on the strings as if no one would notice. :rolleyes: I want to say she did this for 2 years. Anyone else remember the big stink about it? Pam Shriver, are you out there? :wavey:

Who cares ? it's not your and our problem :rolleyes:

SelesFan70
Dec 7th, 2010, 12:12 PM
I was watching old videos of Navratilova and Graf and just thought it was a serious act of desperation that Martina did this. :help:

Rollo
Dec 7th, 2010, 02:51 PM
I was watching old videos (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=424444#) of Navratilova and Graf and just thought it was a serious act of desperation that Martina did this

Why would it be a serious act of desperation? Tennis players, first and foremost, usually do what they think is in their best interest. It's a trait they all share in common. If Martina was switching racquets in an effort to help her game at least she was trying something. This is no different in my view than Evert switching from wood to metal or Steffi trying out two handed backhands at one point during her rough patch in the early 90s.

Contractual disputes are hardly unique to Martina either. Monica Seles threw Nick Bolliteri (spelling?) under the bus in 1990 and Steffi had gobs of representaion issues at one point. For all we know Martina asked Yonex to make changes to her racquet and they couldn't or wouldn't.

Details would be nice.

Wimbledon9
Dec 7th, 2010, 05:38 PM
She used the Dunlop racquet only in 1987 and put the Yonex sign in it not her initials,
she did it quite in the open, I saw it done before matches.

In 1988 she played with a white Yonex racquet RQ180 and was back with them. Martina played with Yonex from 1982 before that it was only known as a badminton branch, she was the player who made Yonex big with their tennis racquets. She did more for them them then they did for her, she once said that Monica Seles as a coming player did get a lot more then she who made the branch big.

How ironic that a Selesfan brings this up. If it was a scam it is only a very little one. Yonex should be paying Martina to this day for what she did for them.

Rollo
Dec 7th, 2010, 06:53 PM
She used the Dunlop racquet only in 1987 and put the Yonex sign in it not her initials,
she did it quite in the open, I saw it done before matches.



Did she ever give a reason Wimbledon? Was there something she liked about the Dunlop racquet?

austinrunner
Dec 7th, 2010, 08:25 PM
The premise of this thread assumes a lot, i.e., that Navratilova actually violated her contract.

Billie Jean King also played with Yonex in 1982.

Zummi
Dec 8th, 2010, 06:43 AM
When Navratilova switched to the Dunlop in 1987, Yonex terminated their contract with her.

She played with the Dunlop through Wimbledon 1988, but they were unwilling to offer her a contract. She debuted her Yonex RQ180 on tour in Montreal at the Canadian Open that summer and re-signed with Yonex shortly thereafter.

austinrunner
Dec 8th, 2010, 11:37 AM
Terminating a contract does not imply that the other party violated the contract.

PamShriver
Dec 8th, 2010, 12:49 PM
Navratilova was playing with Yonex before 1982, she switched to their graphite that year but had been playing with their wood racquet at least since 1980, if not 1979. She was not the only player that played with them either, BJK was playing with them at least as early as '79 so perhaps we shouldn't get so carried away on Navratilova "making" Yonex, since BJK was a bigger star than Martina until the early '80s.

SelesFan70
Dec 9th, 2010, 12:00 AM
There's a YouTube video of Steffi and Martina at Wimbledon 1987, and NBC's Dick Enberg brings it up...Bud Collins intimated it wasn't making her current sponsor (Yonex at the time) too happy. For me, it was just very bizarre.

Besides that, I just find it amazing that a champion like Martina put so much emphasis on her racket. Play with what got ya there!

Philbo
Dec 9th, 2010, 11:20 AM
There's a YouTube video of Steffi and Martina at Wimbledon 1987, and NBC's Dick Enberg brings it up...Bud Collins intimated it wasn't making her current sponsor (Yonex at the time) too happy. For me, it was just very bizarre.

Besides that, I just find it amazing that a champion like Martina put so much emphasis on her racket. Play with what got ya there!

I recall reading somewhere she was a bit paranoid that the Dunlop gave Steffi something Martina's racket didnt, some hidden advantage. So she switched to it briefly just to get the idea out of her mind that Graf had an equipment advantage. Might seem silly now, but when you've got the thought in your head, better to do whatever to get rid of the irritant than go on court with it bugging you..

Helen Lawson
Dec 9th, 2010, 10:25 PM
I spent 20 years packing Lucky Strikes into my Chesterfield boxes, so I know where Martina is coming from.

Pat Bateman
Dec 10th, 2010, 06:51 AM
Back in the late 1980's, Navratilova used the exact same Dunlop racket Steffi used in an effort to keep up with Steffi, except Navratilova painted it and put her MN initials on the strings as if no one would notice. :rolleyes: I want to say she did this for 2 years. Anyone else remember the big stink about it? Pam Shriver, are you out there? :wavey:

It wasn't a big stink. Not many cared about it then, and not many care about it now.

PamShriver
Dec 10th, 2010, 07:50 PM
It wasn't a big stink. Not many cared about it then, and not many care about it now.
It was a big deal at the time, primarily because Martina came off of one of her most dominant years ever on the tour (1986) to not winning a title until July of the following year. It was a huge turn around and her switching racquet's in violation of her endorsement contract was seen as an act of desperation to reclaim the form she seemingly lost overnight.

Rollo
Dec 10th, 2010, 08:43 PM
It was a big deal at the time, primarily because Martina came off of one of her most dominant years ever on the tour (1986) to not winning a title until July of the following year. It was a huge turn around and her switching racquet's in violation of her endorsement contract was seen as an act of desperation to reclaim the form she seemingly lost overnight.

How did the Estep-Navratilova coaching relationship end? I always thought he made her game so streamlined and percentage smart.

Virginia Wade has always been a huge favorite of mine, but her coaching stint with Martina didn't last long! In retrospect Martina was "due" for a tough year if you know what I mean. Five years of dominance is incredible, and even other dominators (Graf, Court, Evert) couldn't sustain their dominance for that long.

austinrunner
Dec 10th, 2010, 08:50 PM
... her switching racquet's in violation of her endorsement contract....
Where's the evidence of the contract violation? I get tired of these potentially libelous allegations without evidence that they're true.

CrossCourt~Rally
Dec 10th, 2010, 09:23 PM
I spent 20 years packing Lucky Strikes into my Chesterfield boxes, so I know where Martina is coming from.

:happy:

Rollo
Dec 10th, 2010, 09:40 PM
Where's the evidence of the contract violation? I get tired of these potentially libelous allegations without evidence that they're true.

I can't imagine a racquet contract that allows a person to play with another racquet. On the other hand it could be possible Martina's contract had expired and she was negotiating with Yonex. She apparently resigned with them in 1988.

Wimbledon9
Dec 11th, 2010, 11:08 PM
How did the Estep-Navratilova coaching relationship end? I always thought he made her game so streamlined and percentage smart.
Mike Estep did not find it a challenge anymore to coach Martina, she probably was too good. He coached other players like Aranxta Sanchez Vicario.

He later coached at least two or three players together probably to earn as much as he got from Martina. I do not know if he regretted changing players but he was a coach who liked his players to attack and there was nobody better at that then Martina.

Caroline Wozniacki is doing the same thing with her racquet but she wants to play next season with a Yonex racquet and does play already with it while her old contract did not yet expire probably a case of money while Martina just wanted a good racquet.

HanaFanGA
Dec 15th, 2010, 01:51 PM
What I remember is that Martina was practicing with Carling Bassett, who was using that model Dunlop, and found that she got a lot more stick on the ball with it on clay. As good as Martina was on clay during her early years with Yonex, there was a noticeable loss of power especially on red clay with such a light racquet. When other players started switching to graphite she lost some of her edge on that surface because of this. With the Dunlop she didn't have to use all arm strength to get something behind the ball. Estep's insistence that she use excessive topspin on clay was another reason why she lost a lot of power. But that's a story for another thread.

Other players have dabbled around with different racquets. I still find it so odd that Hana had such a great spring in 1986 with her trusty old Wilson Ultra II but then for Fed Cup she switched to a round-headed (not like Martina's model) Yonex. As far as I know she only played with it during that week in Prague and then at an exhibition in Pennsylvania before she scrapped the racquet altogether and switched back. I guess her business relationship with Wilson wasn't hurt too bad since they ended up making a signature racquet for her which she used during her last 2 years.

Hana also played the 1980 French in different clothes and with a different racquet and then by contractual obligation had to go back to her old equipment one last time for Wimbledon before making a permanent switch to Wilson and Ellesse. It had something to do with Betty Stove switching her to Advantage International and away from IMG.

I also remember Aranxta playing with a Dunlop for the first 6 months of 1995. She played what I think is one of her greatest matches ever with it in her loss to Steffi in the Wimbledon final that year. But not long afterwards she had moved on to a Yonex.

I don't know why I find these business aspects so interesting, but I do.

Pat Bateman
Dec 17th, 2010, 06:25 AM
It was a big deal at the time, primarily because Martina came off of one of her most dominant years ever on the tour (1986) to not winning a title until July of the following year. It was a huge turn around and her switching racquet's in violation of her endorsement contract was seen as an act of desperation to reclaim the form she seemingly lost overnight.

:bs:

Absolute nonsense. You are mistaking your opinion for fact.

Pat Bateman
Dec 17th, 2010, 06:33 AM
How did the Estep-Navratilova coaching relationship end? I always thought he made her game so streamlined and percentage smart.


There was some rumour around at the time that Martina was a bit jealous of the close friendship that had sprung up between Mike Estep's wife Barbara and Judy Nelson.

Personally, I think the coaching arrangement just ran it's course and Martina wanted someone new.

Rollo
Dec 17th, 2010, 02:51 PM
There was some rumour around at the time that Martina was a bit jealous of the close friendship that had sprung up between Mike Estep's wife Barbara and Judy Nelson.

Personally, I think the coaching arrangement just ran it's course and Martina wanted someone new.

Thanks for the background Pat:)

Rollo
Dec 17th, 2010, 02:53 PM
What I remember is that Martina was practicing with Carling Bassett, who was using that model Dunlop, and found that she got a lot more stick on the ball with it on clay. As good as Martina was on clay during her early years with Yonex, there was a noticeable loss of power especially on red clay with such a light racquet. When other players started switching to graphite she lost some of her edge on that surface because of this. With the Dunlop she didn't have to use all arm strength to get something behind the ball. Estep's insistence that she use excessive topspin on clay was another reason why she lost a lot of power. But that's a story for another thread.

Other players have dabbled around with different racquets. I still find it so odd that Hana had such a great spring in 1986 with her trusty old Wilson Ultra II but then for Fed Cup (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=18872722&posted=1#) she switched to a round-headed (not like Martina's model) Yonex. As far as I know she only played with it during that week in Prague and then at an exhibition in Pennsylvania before she scrapped the racquet altogether and switched back. I guess her business relationship with Wilson wasn't hurt too bad since they ended up making a signature racquet for her which she used during her last 2 years.

Hana also played the 1980 French in different clothes and with a different racquet and then by contractual obligation had to go back to her old equipment one last time for Wimbledon before making a permanent switch to Wilson and Ellesse. It had something to do with Betty Stove (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=18872722&posted=1#) switching her to Advantage International and away from IMG.

I also remember Aranxta playing with a Dunlop for the first 6 months of 1995. She played what I think is one of her greatest matches ever with it in her loss to Steffi in the Wimbledon (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=18872722&posted=1#) final that year. But not long afterwards she had moved on to a Yonex.

I don't know why I find these business aspects so interesting, but I do.
__________________


Great post Hanafan! I knew that stars switching around with racquets (and contracts) was common, but your post provided concrete examples for us.

Rollo
Dec 17th, 2010, 02:59 PM
Mike Estep did not find it a challenge anymore to coach Martina, she probably was too good. He coached other players like Aranxta Sanchez Vicario.

He later coached at least two or three players together probably to earn as much as he got from Martina. I do not know if he regretted changing players but he was a coach who liked his players to attack and there was nobody better at that then Martina.



Thanks Wimbledon. So right about no one attacking as Martina did circa 1983-86. I recall her often coming in even on people's first serves! The Estep-Sanchez connection is interesting. I recall her playing Newport on grass in 1990-attacking all the way. I wonder if that was under Estep?

PamShriver
Dec 18th, 2010, 05:12 AM
:bs:

Absolute nonsense. You are mistaking your opinion for fact.

no I believe that is exactly what you are doing. But thanks for playing!

Pat Bateman
Dec 18th, 2010, 05:50 AM
Where's the evidence of the contract violation? I get tired of these potentially libelous allegations without evidence that they're true.

There is no evidence austinrunner - it's just a fantasy scenario cooked up by somebody with an axe to grind against Martina.