Trump campaign begins at U.S. Open

Updated: August 2, 2004, 4:58 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- He's hired! Donald Trump is helping the U.S. Tennis Association promote participation in the sport.

Trump will appear in print ads in the official U.S. Open program and in national publications in the fall. He also taped a promo that will be shown on video screens during the American Grand Slam tournament starting Aug. 30.

A regular at the U.S. Open for many years, Trump did the promos as a favor to a friend who's a former USTA board member.

The spots tout the Web site, which promotes more than 4,000 facilities across the country where tennis lessons are available.

It's all part of a campaign called "Tennis. Come Out Swinging" launched in March by the USTA and the Tennis Industry Association, which includes manufacturers and retailers.

In his filmed promo, Trump says: "If you don't go to, you're fired!" -- using the catch phrase from his hit reality TV show "The Apprentice."

Trump's print ad shows him sitting behind a desk, with a gold tennis racket. The copy reads: "Fire Away. After a long day of handing out pink slips there is nothing more rewarding than grabbing a racket and heading to the courts. It's a great way to stay fit, keep sharp and relieve stress."

Earlier print ads featured NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" as part of the $3 million campaign. Last year, only about $150,000 was spent on advertising to promote tennis participation, as opposed to publicizing tournaments.

"Seeing that Donald is an avid tennis player and a big fan of the U.S. Open, it was only natural for us to approach him to appear in the campaign," USTA executive Kurt Kamperman said. "Everyone knows who Donald Trump is and what he is about, and to have him promoting the benefits of tennis is priceless."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press