Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Australian, 21, Tennis
Tennis’ self-styled bad boy making good on his talent
Key partners: Nike, Yonex, Beats by Dre
2015 ranking: New entry
Few young athletes divide opinion like Nick Kyrgios. With a troublesome tongue and a tendency for misdemeanour, the hot-headed Australian is hardly a safe bet for sponsors in a conservative sport like tennis. Still, like him or loathe him, the 21-year-old from Canberra is far from beige and the aggressive, confrontational manner in which he plays the game will always draw crowds, even if the end result occasionally draws criticism.
A precocious yet raw talent, this former junior world number one broke through to the senior ranks in 2013, shooting into wider consciousness a year later by beating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon to become the first player outside the world’s top 100 to defeat a world number one since 1992. His current ranking of 20 is a career high and he will have designs on rising higher after claiming a first ATP title in Marseille in February.
On signing the youngster in January 2015, Fernando Soler, the head of IMG’s tennis division, insisted his agency would help transform Kyrgios into “one of the most marketable players of his generation’’. It was a bold statement but with a bit of refinement, the notion may not be so far-fetched. ML
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