Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu’s respective maiden Grand Slam-winning campaigns at the US Open instantly propelled the two players to superstar status. Osaka, who won her first Major at the 2018 US Open, and Raducanu, who did the same last year, are undoubtedly among the most popular players in the sport.
Both players have struggled for various reasons in 2022 and are still very young in their professional careers. They continue to be among the biggest draws at most tournaments. As the season is drawing to a close, tennis fans are reflecting on an eventful 2022 season, with some of them particularly observing that the likes of Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina do not get the same reception in the mainstream as Osaka and Raducanu.
The comparison stemmed from the fact that Swiatek has, and still is, dominating the tour just like Osaka did at her peak in 2018-20. At the same time, Rybakina’s 2022 Wimbledon-winning campaign was highly unexpected, similar to Raducanu’s stunning 2021 US Open win as a qualifier.
“How come Elena didn’t get the same reception Raducanu did and Iga doesn’t get the same reception that Naomi did in the mainstream,” one fan expressed on Reddit.
Fans debated over the same, sharing their views on the aspects that separate the likes of Osaka and Raducanu from Swiatek and Rybakina. Many highlighted that Osaka and Raducanu are more marketable and have interesting stories that culminated in their first Grand Slam titles.
“For the same reason Sharapova spent years out earning Serena while Serena was the best. Osaka and Emma have IT and are simply more marketable. People are literally obsessed with those girls,” one fan opined.
Meanwhile, another fan expressed that Rybakina would have gotten as much attention as Emma Raducanu did if she had won Wimbledon in any other year and that Swiatek does not have “the same intrigue” for western audiences as Osaka does.
“Rybakina is a Russian representing Kazakhstan. That’s it. That’s all. If this had been any other year, she likely would’ve gotten loads of attention and sponsors throwing themselves at her feet. But considering what’s going on in the world, ppl can read the room. As for Iga, she doesn’t have the same intrigue as Naomi does to western audiences,” read another post on Twitter.
Here are a few more contributions from fans to the debate:
Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu ranked among world’s most marketable athletes
Adding more light to the debate, Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu were recently ranked among the most marketable athletes in the world, according to a report published and released by Professional Sports.
The two tennis superstars finished behind just Serena Williams on the list of the most marketable tennis players in the world. Osaka was ranked as the 6th most marketable athlete across sports, while Raducanu bagged 12th place.
According to the report, Osaka’s brand strength, which takes into account an athlete’s overall personal brand, played a huge role in her placement among the Top-10 athletes in the world with the highest marketability index. Similarly, a strong brand strength score and a decent audience/reach score propelled Raducanu to the higher ranks as well.
Though both Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu have struggled on tour this year, their brand value and brand associations continue to soar higher.