'Brand Kyrgios' on the rise, but Australian must tread carefully
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Teenager Nick Kyrgios's ranking is not the only thing that will soar after his electrifying run at Wimbledon. The Australian's brand has also shot into the stratosphere, according to marketing experts.
An exhausted Kyrgios bowed out of Wimbledon with a four-set loss to big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic on Wednesday, with the 226,000 pounds ($379,500) quarter-finalist's check by far the biggest pay-day of his fledgling career.
The real pay-off is yet to come for the rangy 19-year-old, who started the tournament ranked at 144th then announced himself to the world with a stunning fourth-round upset of world number one Rafa Nadal on center court.
Kyrgios is already signed to racquet manufacturer Yonex and apparel giant Nike but his image as a confident, Tweet-happy athlete blessed with extraordinary talent will have huge appeal for companies seeking to tap into lucrative youth markets.
"From what I gather he's a level-headed young man and really committed to his family which will help boost his appeal further," Jack Lamacraft, a director at M&C Saatchi's Sydney office, said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
"He's also really active on social media which is another big plus for brands when considering the appeal of an athlete."
The success of Kyrgios, projected to crack the top 70 when the new rankings are released next week, has thrilled Australia.
The former tennis super-power has waited for a new men's talent to take the mantle from the aging Lleyton Hewitt, who won the last of his two grand slam titles at Wimbledon in 2002. Continued...