Source AP ©

Mercedes-Benz to end sponsoring ATP tennis tour

German carmaker reports Mercedes-Benz will end its sponsorship of the men's ATP tennis tour when the current three-year contract expires at the end of 2008.

The company has been one of the main sponsors of the ATP since 1996.

Mercedes said it would shift its activities to golf, equestrianism and soccer, as well as fashion and lifestyle.

"Over the years, our partnership with the ATP has had a very high brand fit for Mercedes-Benz but we are now adding a new angle to our revised brand positioning," said Olaf Goettgens, vice president of brand communications for Mercedes-Benz.

Richard Davies, the CEO of ATP Properties, thanked Mercedes for its support.

"Both the ATP and Mercedes-Benz have achieved great things in our time together," Davies said in the statement.

The Mercedes star symbol has been attached to tennis nets at more than 40 tournaments around the world. Mercedes has also been providing courtesy car services at tournaments.