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Murray in sponsor hunt as Highland Spring deal ends

ANDY Murray is on the hunt for another big name sponsor after ending his deal with Scottish mineral water firm Highland Spring.

The tennis star’s team of advisers are aiming to capitalise on his worldwide fame and land a multimillion-pound deal with a global brand.

The Australian Open runner-up had been sponsored by the water brand since 2006 in a reputed £1 million-a-year deal.

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However, he did not wear any of their logos on his kit during his run to the final in Melbourne and the company has now confirmed its association with Murray has come to an end. Its deal with his older brother Jamie will also not be renewed.

Representatives from XIX Entertainment, Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller’s firm which represents Murray, are now in talks with a number of multi-national companies about endorsing him.

A source said: “Andy’s deal with Highland Spring ended about six weeks ago and that’s why his shirts at the Australian Open didn’t have their logo on them. It was felt that their association had come to a natural end.

“Andy was very proud to be sponsored by a Scottish firm and it has been a great relationship but his advisers felt it was time to move to the next level.

“He is now one of the most famous sportsmen in the world and they want to capitalise on that by getting endorsements from bigger global brands. They will be locked in discussions over the coming months with potential partners.”

Murray’s deals with kit supplier adidas and racket supplier Head will continue, as will his tie-up with The Royal Bank of Scotland. The 23-year-old Dunblane-born player is expected to front a branded grass-roots tennis campaign for the banking group.

Sally Stanley, group marketing director at Highland Spring, said: “We have been privileged to work alongside Andy and Jamie over the past four years.

“Highland Spring is committed to investing in British tennis through our partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association for many years to come. We wish Andy and Jamie the greatest success in their careers and will continue to be big fans.”

A joint statement by Highland Spring and XIX Entertainment added: “We can confirm that Highland Spring’s sponsorship of Andy and Jamie Murray, which began in 2006, will not be renewed. XIX are reviewing all of Andy and Jamie’s commercial partnerships and are in talks with a number of global brands.”

Highland Spring, based in the Perthshire village of Blackford and owned by the Al Tajir family of Dubai, credited its Murray deal with helping to push sales to a record high.

Last September, it posted sales of £54m for the calendar year 2009 – and pre-tax profits more than doubled to £3.9m.

Meanwhile, Murray told yesterday how he had filmed a sketch with the cast of hit BBC1 comedy Outnumbered for Comic Relief.

The tennis ace is a big fan of the show. However, he admitted he needs to brush up on his acting skills after making a number of errors while filming.

He told fans on Twitter: “Filmed sketch for comic relief with Outnumbered cast, loved it, all the people there were so nice and patient dealing with my screw-ups. Hope it helps raise lots of money and everyone enjoys it.”

Outnumbered, which has won a string of awards including Baftas, stars Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner as a father and mother who are outnumbered by their three children, played by Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche and Ramona Marquez, whom Murray described as a legend.

The sketch will be shown when Comic Relief airs on Red Nose Day, Friday March 18.

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