Despite Wimbledon exit, Laura Robson's off-court earnings could hit £1m
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 01 July 2013
Laura Robson’s winning run may have come to an end at this year’s Wimbledon, but the 19-year-old could see a staggering boost in earnings off the court to more than £1 million after a “vital” tournament.
Currently, Robson’s off court earnings are estimated to be between £300,000 and £500,000. Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency Brand Rapport, believes after the tournament “she has the potential to double those earnings over the next year," possibly into seven figures.
He said: “Laura is a very hot property. She’s very young, good looking and very personable. This Wimbledon is vital as she has shown she can win matches.”
Maria Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in her teens, is the richest female athlete in the world according to Forbes, making £18.6m last year.
“There are big money sponsorship deals that the men can’t do,” Mr Currie said, “such as make-up and fashion”.
Robson’s big money sponsorship deals currently include Adidas and Virgin Active, and Mr Currie has no doubt many more brands will be circling.
“Britain hasn’t had a top woman player for a generation. There will be sponsor offers flooding in after this. Marketers look for potential. She has shown she has something about her.”
Earlier this year one sports marketing agency executive estimated she could earn close to £20m over her career.
Robson has a small team ensuring that progression compared with some players, and at the heart is Miles Maclagan, who used to play a major role in Andy Murray’s entourage.
A former professional player who reached a career-high No 172 in the world rankings, the quietly-spoken Maclagan stepped into the breach after Robson split with her former coach, Zeljko Krajan, earlier this year.
Maclagan has been employed on a trial basis for the grass-court season, which ends with Wimbledon, but it would be no surprise if the arrangement becomes permanent after Robson’s winning run over the last fortnight.
Maclagan, 38, was born in Zambia to Scottish parents, but was raised in Zimbabwe until 1988, when his family moved to Britain. He was good enough to represent Britain in the Davis Cup but has made more of a mark as a coach.
He joined Murray’s entourage in 2010 and helped him to reach his first Grand Slam final and become world No 2. He has also coached the Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, but this is his first experience working with one of the leading women.
Robson has never been afraid to switch coaches if she feels she needs a change of direction. Since parting company three years ago with Martijn Bok, a Dutchman who guided her to the 2008 Wimbledon junior title, she has worked with Patrick Mouratoglou, who is currently Serena Williams’ coach, and Krajan, who joined forces with her last summer.
Iain Bates, the head of women’s tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association, Lucie Ahl, another LTA coach, and Sven Groeneveld, who is one of the Adidas team of coaches, have also worked with Robson recently.
Robson split with the Croatian Krajan before the recent French Open but Dejan Vojnovic, the physical trainer he brought in, remains part of her team. Her regular physiotherapist is Rob Hill, who works for the Lawn Tennis Association and travels with her to some tournaments.
Robson’s parents moved recently to Greece in connection with her father’s work as an oil executive with Shell. The family have grown accustomed to globe-trotting.
They were living in Melbourne when Robson was born, left for Singapore when she was 18 months old and settled in Britain when she was six. Since they moved to Greece Robson has been living in a flat in south-west London.
Kathy, Robson’s mother, has often accompanied her to tournaments but has not been at Wimbledon this year. She was able to share her Wimbledon celebrations with her 21-year-old brother, Nick, who is working with the All England Club’s ground staff during the tournament.
In the absence of her parents Robson relies heavily on her agent, Abigail Tordoff, who works for the management company Octagon and has helped with the careers of a number of young British players.
The two women clearly get on well and it no doubt helps that 33-year-old Tordoff has experience as a player, although she retired 13 years ago.
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