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Tennis Sponsorships

India’s Number 1 Tennis Player, Ankita Raina, Shares Her views on Sponsorships

At 26 years old, Ankita Raina is India’s number 1 ranked woman tennis player. She is also only the fifth Indian woman player to ever break into the top 200 of the WTA singles rankings. In 2018, she made India extremely proud by bringing home a bronze medal at the 18th Asian Games held in Indonesia. Her aim now is to win a Gold at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japan.
Ankita Raina is very modest and humble. She happily agreed to talk to us and answer some of the questions that we had about her experience with sponsorships. Scroll down to read what Ankita had to say.

Can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I am a person who eats, sleeps, dreams tennis. I picked up the racquet at the age of 4 and from there have only dreamt of winning Wimbledon one day, taking one step at a time. I have been fortunate to represent India at Fed Cup eight consecutive times and in running. I am currently India’s number 1 ranked woman tennis player in singles and doubles category. Standing on the podium after winning the Bronze Medal for my nation, in Asian Games 2018, is one of my most cherishable moments. I now aim to upgrade the medal to Gold in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020. I love dancing, a connoisseur and a nature lover.

“I’ve been with Yonex since 2014 and since then my performances have been climbing.”

Yonex is your prime sponsor. Can you share your experience with the brand?
Yonex is a vibrant, exuberant brand offering players the best in class equipment and apparel. They understand the players need and offer a variety of on-trend options, for the player to select. I’ve been with Yonex since 2014 and since then my performances have been climbing.

How has Yonex helped you in your professional career?
Yonex has provided me with the best state of the art equipment and apparel, considering all the nitty-gritty of my requirements. They support me with an apparel range in every season and do offer an intense variety of designs and colours to choose from. I also find their fabric to be up to the needs of the professional routine, players go through.

“For a sponsor ROI is a very important metric. For this metric to be healthy, there is a direct dependency on the popularity of the sport.”

There are plenty of successful sports personalities in India but not all of them enjoy support from brands and sponsors. Why do you think that happens?
Well, multiple factors are contributing to the above state. Most important, according to me, is that for a sponsor Return On Investment (ROI) is a very important metric. For this metric to be healthy, there is a direct dependency on the popularity of the sport. And in turn, for the sport to become popular in the nation, there is a star athlete required, which again sums up to the issue of not having many due to lack of sponsor support. Hence this is a vicious cycle, the resolution to which, according to me lies with sponsors seeing their investments as a long-term strategy rather than a near term goal.

What change you think is needed to enable the flow of more brands in other sports in India apart from cricket?
For this to happen, there has to be a multi-faceted effort ranging from investment being pumped in for popularising these sports and their athletes through all platforms and modes of communication, long term investments for supporting athletes get converted into champions and helping the sport grow and finally government also motivating corporate to help this cause through various forms such as tax incentives etc.

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