MIAMI, FL — Luca Appino, former sport marketing director of high-end tennis racquet manufacturer Babolat, has been named President and CEO of Renaissance Tennis Management Ltd. (RTM).”Luca brings a terrific vitality, not to mention a wealth of technical expertise and coaching experience, to our organization,” RTM Chairman Richard DeVries said in announcing the appointment. “The fit is outstanding. It’s an absolute ace.”

RTM, a corporation based in the Bahamas, manages professional tennis players. Its global roster includes Benjamin Becker, the fastest-rising star on the ATP; Lera Solovieva, a 14-year-old sensation sponsored by Nike; Benedikt Dorsch, two-time NCAA individual champion and three-time NCAA player of the year from Baylor University; and Davis Cup players Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, Michael Lammer of Switzerland and Horia Tecau of Romania.

Appino, 43, resides in Lyon, France, with his wife Patrizia and two children Niccolo’ (9) and Letizia (6). His career almost entirely in the tennis business, including a decade as a teaching pro, Appino is credited with signing such stars as Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, Fernando Gonzalez, Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchova and many others all when they were almost unknown juniors.”Luca is very well known and respected in the tennis industry, he will be based in France also because nearly four in five of the world’s top players are from Europe, and his presence there underscore our commitment to nurturing tomorrow’s superstars also in that part of the world tennis community,” said DeVries.

RTM’s head coach and director of tennis operations is Tarik Benhabiles. Based in South Florida, he has coached seven players into the Top 20, including Roddick. His most recent prodigy, Becker, defeated Andre Agassi during the third round of the 2006 U.S. Open, in Agassi’s final professional match (before losing to Roddick the next day). Becker has risen from 1400 to 56 in less than a year, the fastest rise in ATP history.”Combining Luca’s management and marketing skills with Tarik’s distinctive coaching and motivational style, and positioning them in two of the most important markets in the world, perfectly positions Renaissance Tennis Management as a global leader in career management for the sport’s most serious players,” DeVries said.

The announcement of Appino’s appointment was made in conjunction with the annual Jr. Orange Bowl Tennis Tournament.