TENNIS star Andy Murray is being sued at the High Court by his former coach, who claims he is entitled to a portion of the Wimbledon champion’s fortune.
David Cody has alleged he lost out from a lucrative Royal Bank of Scotland sponsorship deal, which the Scots player first signed a decade ago.
The Texan served as exclusive adviser to Murray and his parents, Judy and William, after being appointed in December 2003.
He left team Murray in 2005 and was later given a payoff of £65,000.
Mr Cody now claims he would never have accepted the payment had he known Murray was going to a renew a two-year contract with the bank in 2006.
Details of the court action emerged yesterday, as the case was given a preliminary hearing at the High Court in London.
Explaining the background to the case, Judge David Donaldson QC said Mr Cody – who was hired to further the career of Murray when the player was 16 – was to receive 10 per cent of payments from all commercial and sponsorship agreements entered into during or renewed after the term of the agreement.
Then on 25 April, 2005 – after nearly 18 months with the star – Murray’s mother, Judy, gave Mr Cody six months’ notice and terminated the contract.
Negotiations in April and May 2006 later resulted in an offer to Mr Cody of the £65,000 “in addition to retaining all commissions and other payments which he had so far received, to be in full and final satisfaction of all present and future claims”.
That offer was accepted, said the judge.
In June 2004, a two-year sponsorship deal with RBS had commenced and in February 2006, Murray himself “made clear in an e-mail that in his view the entitlement to commission applied only to receipts up to the end of the contract, viz December 2005”, the court heard.
Judge Donaldson said it was not in issue that a new RBS agreement was struck on 26 March, 2006, to start on 1 June, 2006, as the old one expired.
The Murray family had retained talent agent Patricio Apey to act for them in the negotiations with Mr Cody. Mr Cody alleges he was told by Mr Apey during the negotiations that the 2004 RBS agreement had not been renewed and that it was uncertain that RBS would continue the sponsorship.
The judge added: “The defendants respond that Mr Apey said no such thing, and that it is clear from two e-mails from the claimant that he was well aware of the renewal and had negotiated overtly on that basis.”
Judge Donaldson said before any proceedings began, Mr Cody should be made to pay cash to the court as security for their legal bills, which the judge said were “likely to be at least £150,000”.
Lawyers for the Murrays pointed to the difficult legal hurdles in collecting cash from debtors in Texas – where Mr Cody lives – and argued that they risked being left seriously out of pocket even if Mr Cody lost his case.
Judge Donaldson ruled that Mr Cody – who previously worked with Jeremy Bates, a former British No 1 and Davis Cup captain, and Israeli Anna Smashnova, the former world No 15, who retired after Wimbledon 2007 – would have to pay £18,600 as security.
Mr Cody insisted he had “no assets and nothing but bank debts” and that his claim against the Murrays would be “stifled” if he were ordered to stump up any cash in advance.
However, he has been given 28 days to come up with the payment and Judge Donaldson said the case would be “stayed until such payment is made”.