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Second Serve



By Alberto Amalfi | @Tennis_Now | Monday, March 18, 2024

The Miami Open can bank on Itaú Unibanco's sponsorship through 2028.

The Brazilian bank announced today it has renewed its title sponsorship of the Miami Masters 1000 event through 2028. 

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The bank remains the presenting sponsor of the next five editions, maintaining the “presented by Itaú” branding.

This initiative, orchestrated by the agency, will take place on March 20 at 11:35 am ET, just after the qualifying stage, which marks the beginning of the tournament.

To celebrate this renewal, a new tradition will be introduced in the tournament this year: the First Serve, that is, the first inaugural serve in the history of tennis to be struck by athlete Rafael Padilha, from the Rede Tênis Brasil (Tennis Brazil Network) project, supported by Itaú Unibanco.

Born in the city of Porto Alegre, Padilha took up tennis at just nine years of age and had his first contact with the sport through this initiative. The eldest of seven siblings, Padilha was the top player in the state ranking for two successive years in the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 categories, playing in Brazilian and ITF Juniors tournaments, such as the Banana Bowl and the Brazil Juniors Cup.

Still through the project, in 2023 he went into the backstage of the Miami Open tournament, practiced on its courts, and met some of his main idols - among them, Carlos Alcaraz, currently the world’s number 2, and Brazilians Beatriz Haddad Maia and Thiago Monteiro.

“We believe that sport has the power to change people's lives. That’s why it’s such a strong pillar of activity at Itaú. Our support ranges from projects that use sport as a means to develop Brazilian children and youngsters to those focused on high performance, such as the Miami Open. We support social actions such as Rede Tenis Brasil, Bola Dentro (Ball In), Instituto Guga Kuerten and Tenis para Todos Paraisópolis (Tennis for all Paraisópolis). We are also proud to support the talented Brazilian tennis player Bia Haddad since 2023, showcasing our commitment to helping the sport grow in Brazil and promoting the development of young athletes”, says Eduardo Tracanella, Itaú Unibanco’s Chief Marketing Officer.

Itaú Unibanco's relationship with tennis dates back to the 1970s, with Itaú Tennis Cup, and aims to operate in all areas of the sport: educational, youth development and high performance.

By renewing this commitment, the bank said it "reaffirms its support for the values and traditions of sport in Brazil, consolidating its presence in the international tennis arena and showcasing mutual trust and determination to promote high-performance tennis."

This year, Itaú Personnalité's presence is expanded with an exclusive lounge with a view of the main courts, equipped with a bar, tables, armchairs to relax and the presence of a DJ, as well as an interactive photo space.

First Serve: a new tradition started by Itaú at the Miami Open

From the alleys of Vila Kédi in Porto Alegre, Rafael Padilha is an outstanding athlete coming through the project.

At the age of 9, he had his first contact with tennis through the Rede Tênis Brasil project.

The path taken by this young man has led him directly to a position of high responsibility at the next Miami Open: he’ll make the tournament’s first serve, an unprecedented feat in the history of world tennis, and just led by Itaú.

Inspired by players such as Bia Haddad and Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael faces challenges in Brazilian and ITF Juniors tournaments, including renowned competitions such as the Banana Bowl and the Brazil Juniors Cup.

Padilha also invests time in studying English to try for a scholarship at a U.S. university.

“He’s not only a talented competitor on the courts, but also a young man who understands the importance of dedication and education to progress. We are proud, here at Itaú, to support projects that boost opportunities through sport”, adds Tracanella.

Photo credit: 
Itaú Unibanco/Miami Open