Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Help Me Howard: Tennis Star
Imagine training your young life to become a tennis star. You make it to Wimbeldon, into the world rankings and then your financial backer has to withdraw. Now a terrible problem for a young star who needs financial support and legal advise to make it to the top. So she started with a call to Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
WSVN -- If you decide to go hit a few tennis balls, do yourself a favor don't get on the other side of Camila Giorgi because if you do, odds are your confidence is gonna get smashed.
Sergio Giorgi: "She is very good. Very athletic. Very tough mentality."
Camila is world class good. Just returning to South Florida after playing at Wimbeldon.
Camila Giorgi: "Yes its nice.
Patrick Fraser: "You should be proud."
After training since she was a child, the 19 year has now become a star. Photography sessions, behind the scenes, videos across the internet as camila has become the 163rd best womens tennis player in the world. But her father, who is also her coachs ays that is all about to change.
Sergio Giorgi: "I think in one year she is going to be top 50 for sure."
But just as she feels she is about to make it big, a major star the sponsors who convinced Camilas family to move to the U.S to train dropped out.
Camila Giorgi: "They spent alot of money for the first tournaments and after one day they say stop."
The husband and wife sponsors promised to pay Camila's expenses for two years, but then the couple divorced stranding Camila and her family.
Patrick Fraser: "You were depending on your sponsors to pay everything?"
Sergio Giorgi: "Yes."
The visas Sergio and his wife got to come to the U.S. will not allow him to work. He is now scrambling to find a new sponsor. But everyone sees the tough spot hes in and tries to take advantage of Camila.
Sergio Giorgi: "Yes they want contract for all the life normally they say. I want 30 percent of all the career for everything. That is difficult. Very very difficult."
Sergio says one investor has offered to supply the $200,000 a year Camila needs to train, but he wants 40 percent of the millions Camila could earn instead of the normal 20 percent most sponsors get.
Camila Giorgi: "So they want to take advantage of you?"
Sergio Giorgi: "Of course. Of course."
But without a sponsor, Camila who has been playing tennis since she was 6, who the experts say is on the verge of stardom in the next few months might be forced to move back to Italy and give up her tennis dreams.
Camila Giorgi: "I want to play tournaments and keep going."
"You need a sponsor to do that."
Camila Giorgi: "Yes."
They could try to force the former sponsors to pay what they promised. Sergio says no.
Sergio Giorgi: "I cannot change the mind of somebodys decision. Its OK. I respect and its not good for me but its OK."
But Howard, can they even sign with a new sponsor after agreeing to this document with the old sponsor.
Howard Finkelstein: "I read the document. It's not a binding contract. The bad news, Camila can't force the sponsor to continue to pay. The good news, she can go with a new sponsor if she can find one."
We started looking for experts in sponsoring world class athletes. Many companies will supply shoes, clothes and tennis rackets, but a company or person to pay Camila's travel expenses is not easy. We're still looking.
And Camila is at the crossroads in her career. She is about to make it big money but to make big money she has to keep playing.
Sergio Giorgi: "First you must play. You become famous. You be on television and after the money come."
Patrick Fraser: "Like the chicken and the egg thing with a twist. What comes first. The fame or the money because in this case you have to keep playing to become famous. Make money for yourself and your sponsors. We will keep an eye on it and let you know what happens to Camila."
Feel like you have come across a racket? Wanna serve it up to someone? We'll take it and let the legal volleying begin.