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FRONT PAGE: Max Clifford to help shed tennis' middle-class image

The Lawn Tennis Association's charitable arm is understood to be investing up to £250,000 in a year-long PR campaign masterminded by Max Clifford.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

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It hopes to capitalise on this year's thrilling Wimbledon final. Clifford will attempt to use his media muscle to change the perception that the sport is only for the rich.

Max Clifford Associates will also work to keep tennis in the media outside of Wimbledon fortnight. Clifford said he would use his celebrity and other contacts to broaden opportunities for media coverage. ‘It should be easy for me to potentially achieve positive coverage bec­ause of the variety of clients I represent,' he told PRWeek.

Tennis could be positioned as a way of coaxing children off the streets and getting them fit.
Emphasis will be put on the social aspects of tennis.

Clifford has been brought in by The Tennis Foundation - the LTA's charitable arm.
The LTA and The Tennis Foundation will be hoping that Clifford can inject fresh vigour into their long-running campaign to make tennis available free of charge at all 10,000 local authority
tennis courts across the UK.

The Tennis Foundation's executive director Sue Mappin said Clifford's contacts should help to make a real ­difference from previous campaigns. She added: ‘We want this to be a long-term strategy, not just an initiative. We don't want just one sound bite; we need a consistent message.'

Neither The Tennis Foundation nor Clifford would comment on fees, but it is understood that Clifford normally charges £20,000 per month.

Last week, PRWeek reported that a new PR strategy was helping to thaw Andy Murray's relationship with the media (News, 4 July). The Scottish star took on Stuart Higgins Communications in March after years of shunning PR.

CLIFFORD'S VIEWS:
On Andy Murray
‘Murray is in very capable hands with Stuart Higgins, but he has an uphill struggle ahead to win hearts and minds'.

On Laura Robson
‘She has put herself centre stage of one of the biggest commercial sports stages in the world: tennis'
(The Scotsman, 9 July)

On his own background
‘I grew up in south Wimble­don, but we didn't play tennis because we couldn't afford it'

This article was first published on PR Week UK

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