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Hingis sues former sponsors

Hingis wore Tacchini shoes from 1996 to 1999 Keystone Archive

Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis has filed a $40 million (SFr 72 million) lawsuit against her former clothing supplier, Sergio Tacchini, claiming that the company's shoes damaged her feet.

Hingis signed a five-year endorsement deal with Tacchini worth $5.6million (SFr10 million)in 1996. But within two years the world number one was suffering from a recurring foot injury, which she now blames on the Italian company’s shoes.

In court papers filed at Manhattan’s state Supreme Court on Friday, Hingis says that she was forced to withdraw from several competitions because of the “defective” shoes.

Tacchini reacted to the lawsuit by saying that Hingis had filed a similar claim two years ago which had been judged to be baseless.

“Sergio Tacchini cited Martina Hingis before the tribunal of Milan to obtain damages caused to the company by grave and repeated breaches of contract,” the company said.

“Martina Hingis defended herself complaining that she had suffered foot sores caused by sneakers made by her sponsor,” the spokesman added.

“The baseless claims of Hingis, formulated only to avoid paying contractual damages, were highlighted and restated by the judiciary.”

After complaining to Tacchini, Hingis had her feet examined by an orthopaedic specialist recommended by the company. The doctor recommended that Tacchini modify Hingis’s shoes but, according to the court papers, they refused to do so.

Tacchini fired Hingis as a spokeswoman in 1999, claiming in a press release that she had damaged their image and products “because of her behaviour and extremely discrediting statements”.

The court papers filed by Hingis argue that the press release issued by Tacchini was “false and defamatory.”

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR