Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has signed a management agreement with IMG that puts her in the exalted company of fellow Nike stable-mates Maria Sharapova and Li Na.
If they can do a quarter of what they have done for the above-mentioned two, both worldwide icons in their own way and hugely wealthy, the 24-year-old from the Czech Republic will be sitting pretty.
“My sponsorship deals have been very focused on the Czech Republic so far so I am hoping to work with some global brands and I’m excited to see what the IMG machine can do,” Kvitova said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. According to the story, Sharapova made eight times what Kvitova earned in 2013; Li Na made about five times as much in on-court earnings and endorsement income.
The story reports that IMG will work in collaboration with Kvitova's current Czech-based business manager. PR manager Katie Spellman, a Toronto-based former WTA Tour employee, will also stay on.
It's a big step. Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion, but her global profile is fairly under the radar. That's generally true of most women tennis players; Li (who has the massive Chinese market to work with), Sharapova and Serena Williams are notable exceptions.
Reports last month had IMG also pursuing rising Canadian star Genie Bouchard, whose contract with rival agency Lagardère is expiring at the end of this year. Bouchard also is sponsored by Nike.
Kvitova has worked diligently to improve her previously halting English, with good success so far.
“The sky is the limit for Petra’s talent and she is a player who we believe is on her way to becoming an international star. We believe that she can win many more Grand Slams and IMG can help build her brand globally," new agent Marijn Bal told Bloomberg.