Sunday, July 14, 2024

Dress smarter and we might find squash’s Anna Kournikova

Squash needs an Anna Kournikova
Sellable asset: Squash needs an Anna Kournikova to enhance its appeal

Dress to impress: Why players must follow the example set by tennis and capitalise on the latest trend  

By ALEX WAN – Squash Mad guest columnist

Is it visually unappealing to watch someone badly dressed playing squash? Maybe not. But will it enhance the experience if it was otherwise? Definitely.

I brought up the fact that some Malaysian juniors were dressed in tops a few sizes bigger than their own and they looked terrible, and that it wasn’t doing the sport any favours.

It’s even worse when they wore the sponsor’s logo on them. When one wears them, one acts as an ambassador to the brand, and no brand wants to be associated with sloppiness, do they?

Many disagreed with me, citing that it’s the squash that matters. Yes, squash matters, but it’s also important to look good, or, at least, not look bad. My reason is simple. Professional sport is a form of entertainment. So it is important that the “entertainers” dress well.

For those who still disagree with me, would you be equally happy if you paid to watch Celine Dion in concert and she came dressed in her pyjamas? Or watch an orchestra in total darkness? After all, it’s the music that matters, no?

Whether its Angelina Jolie or Nicol David (pictured right), Brad Pitt or Ramy Ashour, they are very much similar in a way.

People pay to see what they do best. When they are not, people want to know what they do instead, what they like to eat, drink, wear, and so on.

It is true that this is still the junior level and may not have reached that stage. But I have the opinion that the younger they are made to understand what is expected of a professional, the better it is.

For one, they may strive to work harder, sooner rather than later. This could eventually lead to professional squash careers beginning at a younger stage. Impossible? Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17.

This whole concept is not only important to the players themselves, but the coaches and officials need to buy it too and act the part, for they are the most natural role models to the juniors.

If, at the end of the day, one is not good enough to get up there, there is still hope for a career as a professional athlete.

With a beautiful face and a sellable name, who knows, squash might have its own Anna Kournikova.

 

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