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IMG signs 13-year-old Australian prodigy Tomic

3/23/2006 - Tennis

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- IMG evidently was not turned off by Bernard Tomic's youth.

The sports marketing and management giant announced Thursday it
has signed Tomic, a 13-year-old Australian tennis prodigy, to
join its stable of athletes.

Others in the IMG Tennis fold are Grand Slam champions Roger
Federer, Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and
Maria Sharapova.

Last week, Tomic won his fourth consecutive 18-and-under ITF
tennis championship in Australia and New Zealand. He has
claimed 75 tournament titles in less than six years.

"We see a lot of talented young players, but everything about
Bernard points to him becoming a true 'superstar' in the
future," IMG Australia senior vice president Brian Cooney said
in a statement. "Winning four consecutive under-18 ITF
tournaments puts him in the top 200 players in the world
already, and he's just 13 years old."

Among other aspirations, Tomic is hoping to become the youngest
player to represent Australia in Davis Cup play.

"I want the serve of Goran Ivanisevic, the heart of Lleyton
Hewitt, the mind of Pete Sampras and the groundstrokes of Roger
Federer," Tomic said in a statement. "I want to be No. 1 in the
world and win all the Grand Slam tournaments."

IMG made the announcement at the Nasdaq-100 Open tournament, where many of its top players are competing.

Tomic would be wise to pay attention to fellow junior star
Donald Young, who has yet to win on the ATP Tour.

The 16-year-old American went 0-7 on the ATP Tour last year and
slipped to 0-2 this year with an embarrassing 6-0, 6-0 setback
to Argentine Carlos Berlocq, who also never had won an ATP
match, in the first round Thursday.