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Monday, September 26, 2022

Dress smarter and we might find squash’s Anna Kournikova

Alex Wan
Alex Wan
Alex Wan is an avid squash lover who writes, photographs, plays and coaches when he is not making a living with his Finance degree.

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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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  1. I agree with you and in many ways it’s the responsibility of the players’ managers and sponsors to ensure that they are seen in the best possible light.

    That includes how they dress on court and anything else where the player has “contact” with the public and their fans.

  2. Well thats What I have been working on the past couple of month you guys just keep reading my mind. Its a great piece and please keep it down a little bit on the Clothing Articles you will spoil my surprise (kiddin) Keep it up guys

  3. Hi!
    I honestly wish I could say – Yes! That would do the trick. That would put us up there with the big sports. Unfortunately it will not.
    As for last sentence I do somehow feel that it “kills” the main idea regarding how to dress. What is a pretty face and what is a sellable name??
    Honstly I think that most sponsors and most players already do like to present themselves in a smart and attractive way. Add to this that we have so many different opinions on what is attractive and it will be a tough one to win. If a couple of juniors cannot find the right sizes – well sponsor them and solve the problem.

  4. ok, surely many male spectators would like to see the squash-women dressed like Anna Kurnikova, but IMHO there are religious reasons why female players from the leading nations in squash (except of UK) can not be dressed like that.

  5. Surely part of the issue is that whereas with Tennis, Nike or Adidas etc. are willing to pay a fair few million for Federer, Nadal etc. to wear their stuff exclusively. Realistically, this doesn’t happen in squash, so player’s have to rely on many ‘lesser’ sponsors. A T-shirt with four logos, functioning in effect as an advertisement board will never look the same as a purpose designed matching Nike or Adidas kit. Unfortunate, but unless they invest more, this is unlikely to happen.

  6. good column. whenever I watch a pro tennis match, men or women, live or on television, in mixed company (or any Olympic event), nearly everyone comments on the players’ appearance and attire, in fact sometimes that’s the main thing they talk about. at the club level, my wife’s tennis team and their rivals spend gobs of money on uniforms.

  7. This thread really makes me angry, sad, confused but in a way also happy. I leave it to you to develop on that.
    Let me just say that I was amazed by the skills shown by the Malaysian KIDS.

  8. Many thanks for all your comments.

    John Branston – You got the gist of my article spot on!.Tennis has grown into more than just another sport. People want to play tennis more just for the sake of playing. People want to so that they can dress up. People no only want to play like Federer, they want to dress like him, use his racket, carry his bag, etc. One doesn’t even need to look at the dressing at the professional level. Just take a look at the difference of the players of the two sports in your local club and you will see a sea of difference.

    The article really isn’t so much on Anna Kournikova. The example here used is mainly to highlight that in tennis, even if you are nowhere near the top, the number of endorsements is way more than enough to have a sports career. In squash, even the top 100 are struggling to make ends meet all the time. Now, if a squash career was far more lucrative (doesn’t matter where the money comes from), it will definitely grow in popularity on all levels. How can that not be good for the sport?

  9. Well since I’m all for the sport of squash growing I give up for the overwhelming new ideas on how to grow our sport.
    Let’s focus on the way we dress and more importantly how the young girls dress.
    I drop all my doubts and head out to buy clothes like Shabana for me (being a lefty makes it really to go for that option) and buy my son all the Willstrop attires. To my wife I will of course opt for the Nicol outfit though I do think that the skirts are a bit too long so I’ll use a pair of scissors to improve her chances of success even further.
    I’ll be back in a year to let you know the impact of this truly innovative idea on how to grow our sport.
    Suddenly it all seems so easy.
    Until the next time – Happy dressing!

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