Tennis watchers: Who do we think becomes the first man to win a Grand Slam not named Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, or Roger Federer now that it’s going to happen this week? I want to say Daniil Madvedev, but I’m wondering if it’s recency bias after watching him cream Frances Tiafoe.
Ramble of the Day
Because tennis is on the brain, my sisters and I were talking about Agnieszka Radwańska, the 2012 Wimbledon finalist who retired in 2018. I couldn’t tell you what exactly brought my younger sister to read up on Radwańska’s sponsorship deals when she was still a player, but at the top of that section on Wikipedia? A deal she struck in 2014 with the American chain restaurant, Cheesecake Factory, born out of her genuine love for it. I was pretty shocked, but apparently this is old news.
She was hanging out at the Cheesecake Factory booth at a pre-U.S. Open event in 2013, and tweeted that it was the “best way to get ready for the Open.” She made it to the round of 16 of the tournament that year, which was tied for her best finish, so she may have had a point. She showed enough adoration for the restaurant chain that a deal was done in March of the next year, and the details that led to this deal make it more amazing (via Sports Business Daily):
One of [Radwańska’s] representatives at Lagardère Unlimited, Drew LeMesurier, cold-called the company — but not for a deal.
“Initially, I wanted to get her VIP treatment at one of the restaurants,” said LeMesurier, director of talent marketing for Lagardère. That meant cutting the waiting lines the restaurants frequently boast, and maybe some gift cards.
It’s not an uncommon request; just ask [Donald Evans, chief marketing officer of the Cheesecake Factory]. Celebrities ranging from Justin Bieber to David Spade, and past and present NBA players such as Shaquille O’Neal and James Harden, are well known acolytes of the menu’s 250 offerings. “We help them out when they go to our restaurants,” Evans said.
The deal meant Radwańska would wear the restaurant’s name on her visor during matches played in the United States, and I did manage to find a picture.
Just read that Radwanska is sponsored by the Cheesecake Factory in the U.S.?? Amazing. #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/aIh0uSDTVO— Jio de Leon (@jiodeleon) July 9, 2015
Of course, I also did a Twitter search to see just how much Radwańska loves the Cheesecake Factory, and found that she celebrated winning the 2014 Rogers Cup in Toronto with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory.
Celebrating Rogers Cup with the team. Thanks @Cheesecake pic.twitter.com/4JRAQpjugM— Aga Radwanska (@ARadwanska) August 12, 2014
In fact, it seemed like the Cheesecake Factory was Radwańska’s default for special occasions for a pretty long time.
"How's life going for you?" @ARadwanska: "Good. Getting old." Table laughs. Celebrated her b-day at Cheesecake Factory. "10 year tradition". pic.twitter.com/f2Cg1gpq4J— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 8, 2017
Radwańska hasn’t tweeted much about the Cheesecake Factory recently, though I wonder if it’s because the updates at some point were coming from reporters and now that she’s retired, she runs into that crowd less frequently than she used to. She now lives in her native Poland, but there aren’t any Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the country; in fact, there aren’t any in Europe. I have now become invested in the idea that Radwańska would be the person to bring the Cheesecake Factory to Poland and Europe, and I really want her to do this even if it’s not at all part of her priorities right now. She did end her career with $27 million in prize money, so perhaps some of it could go to this very important idea, which we could totally trust her with because if anyone respects the quality of the Cheesecake Factory, it’s Radwańska.
tl;dr: Now retired tennis player Agnieszka Radwańska got a Cheesecake Factory sponsorship because she loved the restaurant chain so much, and now I want her to open the chain’s first European location.
Stay informed, read this: Melissa Murphy on the Original 9, the women who launched the professional women’s tennis circuit 50 years ago for the Associated Press
Links of the Day
PSG’s Kylian Mbappé and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez tested positive for COVID-19.
England’s Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home after they broke COVID-19 protocols to meet two women in a public part of their Reykjavík hotel.
Transfer updates: Everton signed James Rodríguez from Real Madrid; Newcastle signed Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth; Sheffield United signed Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea and Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe from Derby
A longer read: James Yorke writes a preview of Tottenham’s 2020-21 season for StatsBomb