Babolat, the French tennis equipment manufacturer, has upgraded its sponsorship agreement with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to become an official partner of the Wimbledon Championships.
Under the new agreement, Babolat is now the official stringer of the Championships and the official partner of tennis rackets, strings, bags, and shoes.
The partnership is a significant upgrade to its previous 10-year licensing agreement as the tournament’s official supplier of tennis rackets, bags, shoes, and accessories.
As an official partner, Babolat will design official rackets, bags, and footwear for the event as part of a limited-edition collection available to fans globally. Its stringing service, meanwhile, will see a team of international experts prepare the rackets of the top men’s and women’s players.
Babolat president Eric Babolat said: “This is an exciting new chapter for our shared history. By supporting the Championships with our expertise in racket performance, we’ll enhance the on-site experience for the game’s top competitors.
“And together, we also have a fantastic opportunity to grow the game with current players and the next generation of champions by sharing the energy of this special tournament and helping fans to live the experience through exclusive products.”
Babolat previously sponsored the French Open as the grand slam’s official supplier of balls and stringing services between 2011 and 2019. Babolat was succeeded by US equipment manufacturer Wilson after mutually ending its contract with the French Tennis Federation (FFT). Wilson’s contract runs until 2024.
Gus Henderson, commercial director of the AELTC, said: “Providing a world-class racket service for competitors at Wimbledon is crucial to the success of our event and we have the utmost confidence in the Babolat team’s ability to deliver on this ambition.
“Through the partnership, fans of Wimbledon will be able to dress the part year-round with Babolat range of products available through the Wimbledon Shop.”
The 2022 Wimbledon Championships began on Monday. The run-up to the tournament was plagued by the news that the men’s ATP and women’s WTA top-tier professional tennis tours withdrew ranking points from this year’s tournament over the AELTC’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The move by the two tours has effectively reduced the grand slam to an exhibition tournament. However, no players or sponsors have boycotted the event, and the decision does not seem to have affected the grand slam commercially so far.
The Babolat announcement comes days after Robinsons, the UK soft drinks brand that is one of Wimbledon’s longest-serving sponsors, announced it had ended its partnership with AELTC.