LONDON — Sony Ericsson is ending its sponsorship of the WTA tour at the end of the 2012 season.
Sony Ericsson became the title sponsor of the women's tennis tour in 2005 tour under a six-year, $88 million deal. Although the contract was extended through the end of 2012, the mobile phone company's name was dropped from the tour's title in 2011.
The WTA said in a statement Friday that "2012 will be the eighth and final year of the partnership. They have been a great partner and we will miss them."
Sony Ericsson PR manager Graciela Pineda says "this was a strategic decision based on the evolution of the business and the brand."
AUSTRALIAN OPEN: French players Jeremy Chardy and Aravane Rezai have been given wild cards into the Australian Open under a reciprocal agreement between the French Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia.
Tennis Australia said in a statement the French federation selected Chardy and Rezai and, as part of the agreement, two Australian players will be invited to compete at the French Open in May.
SUSPENDED: Swedish teenage tennis player Lucas Renard has been given a six-month suspension after admitting he violated the sport’s anti-corruption rules.
The Tennis Integrity Unit said that the 19-year-old Renard also was fined $5,000, but that four months of the ban were suspended on condition he attends anti-corruption education training.
The tennis body said the 882nd-ranked Renard had broken a rule stating that no player can “contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome” of a match. It did not specify what he had done.