Tennis

Hewitt, managers in court

2009-04-29 07:55
In court (Gallo Images)

Melbourne -  Details of Lleyton Hewitt's commercial deals have been revealed in a Victoria state Supreme Court case involving the former No 1 and his former management firm.

US firm Octagon has filed suit against Hewitt for loss of merchandising and management fees, claiming he breached his exclusive representation contract.

Hewitt has filed counter claims, alleging Octagon failed to fulfill its obligations as his agent and that he suffered loss and damage as a result. He said he severed his relationship with Octagon in December 2004.

Details of his tournament appearance fees and endorsement deals with companies such as Nike were mentioned during legal argument before Associate Justice Melissa Daly reserved her decision for hearing to a later date, the Herald-Sun newspaper reported on Wednesday.

In a previous statement, Hewitt and his management firm, Lleyton Hewitt Marketing, denied that Octagon was entitled to any additional fees since December 2004 and the company had retained certain funds to which it had no entitlement.

"As Octagon has chosen to engage in expensive and time-consuming litigation in relation to its former role as my representative and agent, I feel I have no choice but to defend myself and counterclaim in relation to the ways in which I believe that Octagon failed to discharge its obligations to me," Hewitt said in a statement posted on his website. "Naturally I would prefer not to be put in this position. I remain hopeful that this matter can be resolved out of court, but I am nevertheless prepared to fight to vindicate my position."

In its statement of claim, reported in the domestic media, Octagon says that in 2000 Hewitt retained it to represent and market him and manage his career.

The agreement was exclusive, worldwide and included product endorsements, ATP tournament guarantees, exhibitions and clinics, TV and speaking appearances, licensing agreements, corporate sponsorships, modeling, books, films and PR.

Octagon said Hewitt agreed to pay Octagon between 16-20 percent of his earnings on a sliding scale depending on his ranking, Grand Slam and ATP tour performances.

Hewitt was due to play against India in a Davis Cup match starting May 8 but is now trying to get entry to clay court tournaments in Europe leading up to the French Open because Australia is boycotting the Davis Cup match in Chennai on security grounds.

He was 20 when he gained the No 1 ranking in November, 2001. He won Grand Slam titles at the 2001 US Open and at 2002 Wimbledon.

Now married with two children and still on the comeback from a persistent hip injury, his ranking slipped outside the top 100 for the first time in a decade in January before he rebounded to win the US Clay Court Championship at Houston earlier this month, his first ATP title in two years.

He is now ranked No 53 and has won $17.8 million in career prize money.

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