Neale Fraser and Phil Dent
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"This is in the years of our Esso sponsorship which we were lucky to get in the early 70s. Sponsorship was very hard to come by." (Neale Fraser in 2015)
Protecting himself from the heat with an improvised headress, Australian tennis player Phil 'Philby' Dent (on left, with team captain Neale Fraser) is also sporting a branded t-shirt. The oil and petroleum company Esso were one of the first to jump on the opportunity offered by the popularity of tennis in Australia. Wayne Reid, then President of the Lawn Tennis Association, credited Neale Fraser with engaging Esso as sponsors, but also recognised that the company had spotted the opportunity. He said "an Esso director told me that, as an Australian company..they wanted to become identified with Australian sport". The new opportunities were made possible by the advent of the 'Open era' which allowed players to play for prize money (and sponsorship). Previously, players could only participate in major tournaments if they were amateurs, and the only prizes were trophies.