© Getty Images/Vittorio Selmi

Cino Marchese was heavily involved for more than 40 years in Italian sport, including the Palermo, Milan and Rome tournaments.

Cino Marchese: 1937-2019

'The Silver Fox' was Mr Italian Tennis

Cino Marchese, a charismatic marketing pioneer, tournament director, talent scout and manager, passed away in Rome on Sunday aged 81.

Marchese, who was head of Italian operations for the International Management Group (IMG), the global sports and management company, was involved in top-level skiing, tennis, football and basketball for more than 25 years. He assisted the careers of Adriano Panatta, Bjorn Borg, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati and Goran Ivanisevic (tennis); footballers Roberto Baggio and Paolo Rossi; in addition to Olympic and world champion skiers Deborah Compagnoni and Alberto Tomba.

Nicknamed 'The Silver Fox', Marchese, a tall, genial, grey-haired former basketball player, brought men’s professional tennis to Palermo in 1979 (an ATP 250 clay-court tournament that ran until 2005) and he was also a long-time promoter of the Milan event.

He also worked as the public relations director of Italian clothing manufacturer, LaFont, which launched in 1976, and he helped to sign tennis players, including Cliff Drysdale, John Alexander, Phil Dent, Kim Warwick, Tim Gullikson and Tom Gullikson.

Marchese, who studied economics and commerce in Genoa and foreign languages at Bocconi, started working as a goldsmith in the family business, but became Mark McCormack's IMG sports manager in Italy at the age of 35.

In 1980, he dealt with the management of Italian commercial television rights on behalf of TWI, a company of the IMG Group, and also organised the 1985 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Bormio.

Marchese is fondly remembered as a ‘mayor’ of the VIP village, which he helped to revitalise at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. In 1982, he sold three of the five hospitality tents for $5,000 each and hosted up to 3,000 people, when the ATP Masters 1000 tournament's total revenue was $500,000.

He is survived by his wife, Gabriella.

Cino Marchese, sports agent and manager, born 2 November 1937, died 17 March 2019

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