Sorana Cirstea recently went into all the factors that decided a tennis player's marketability, revealing that one's good looks played a far bigger role in the equation than even their prowess on the court.
Speaking in an episode of the 'La Fileu' podcast, the Romanian remarked that when she was endorsed by Adidas, the executives there told her how it was better to be a good-looking Top-20 player than a World No. 1 who did not look as attractive.
"I remember, for example, when I had a contract with Adidas," Cirstea said. "They, all the time, considering that I look good for a sportswoman, they told me: "It's better to look good and be Top 20 than not look so good and be number 1!"
When asked why, they explained to Cirstea that a Top-20 player would get a lot of eyeballs on them anyway, playing every week in every tournament. Despite the seemingly double standard nature of the comment, the 32-year-old was understanding, stating that it was only fair considering that the executives too had their share of quotas to fill.
"Because when you're in the Top-20, you're seen anyway. You are there 24/7, every week, every tournament. And they told me: 'It's better to be beautiful, Top 10, Top 20, than less beautiful and number 1!'. I mean, they too, you realize, that they have their quotas, it's a market," Cirstea reasoned.
Sorana Cirstea further added that a player's geography also played a key role, commenting that athletes from America, China and Japan were far more likely to earn a lot more over those from Eastern Europe, for example.
Personality is an indispensable part of a tennis star's marketability too, according to the World No. 38, who disclosed that the way one presented oneself to the fans was just as vital in deciding how much one could end up earning.
"For example, the best paid: American, Chinese, Japanese! From Japan there is Osaka, for example. Rupe! She was the highest paid athlete in all sports in recent years. It's the market! Great Britain, too, sells. Spain, the same," Cirstea said. "Eastern Europe doesn't really sell! It's not the same and it depends a lot on you, on your personality! What you inspire, how you present yourself! That matters a lot too."
Sorana Cirstea professed solidarity with Simona Halep amidst her doping scandal
Earlier, Sorana Cirstea had backed compatriot Simona Halep after the latter was handed a provisional suspension over a positive drug test, stating that Halep would never willingly ingest a banned substance and that she fully believed in her innocence.
"Although we may not be the best of friends, I know Simona (Halep) well enough for decades to strongly believe that she would never willingly and in good faith touch any doping substance," Cirstea said, adding, "The sport of tennis represents fair play and puts rivalries aside. She is a great player that I believe won through her own merits."