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Nike signs rare U.S. women’s prospect

Nike signed 16-year-old American tennis player Alexa Glatch to an endorsement contract. The value is low six figures annually for several years, sources said.

Sixteen-year-old Alexa Glatch won her first-round U.S. Open match in August.

The signing is notable because there is a dearth of American girls coming up through the ranks. Instead, a wave of Russian, Eastern European and Asian players have swamped the Sony Ericsson WTA, leaving only standard-bearers Lindsay Davenport and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, as consistent American threats.

Glatch won her first-round match at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in August. Next year she will compete at professional and junior tournaments.

At this stage, both her agent and her apparel company say not to expect any eye-popping results soon.

“She will probably be a late bloomer,” said Riccardo Colombini, head of Nike tennis. Tom Ross, an executive with her management agency, Octagon, pegged her as a sure top-50 player.

Glatch and her family flew to Nike’s Portland headquarters last month to meet top executives. She will not be featured in any marketing.

“Eventually, sure, we want to use her,” Colombini said.

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