BOBBY FRETZ WRITES – Several weeks ago, the Australian Open came to an end with an emotional Roger Federer hoisting his 20th grand slam trophy. While Federer’s greatness is not an unfamiliar story to sport fanatics, a new headline made waves throughout the two-week long tournament.
21 year old, Hyeon Chung of South Korea, fought his way into the semi-finals of the tournament, becoming the first from his country to make it that far in a major sport. Chung started his 2018 campaign ranked 58 in the world, but his stellar performance down under has rocketed him into the top 30 of all male tennis players in the world.
Chung’s performance cannot be understated. Taking out tennis star, Novak Djokovic (in straight sets), is no minor feat for a young player (or any player!) at a huge tournament. Chung is just one of the few players from the younger generation who is proving he can play at the highest of levels against top players. Currently, he is the only South Korean ranked inside the top 100. This rising star is primed to be a huge target for Asian sponsorships.
For example, Asian tennis player, Kei Nishikori, is no stranger to being a target for huge sponsorship deals. The face of Asian tennis inked a 50M dollar deal with Japanese clothing company at the start of 2016. Asian athletes receive a lot of media attention when they perform on large stages, and makes them enticing for lucrative sponsorship deals. This should be no different for Chung. His rapid rise among the rankings and performance in tournaments should easily make him one of the highest sponsored athletes in the Asian tennis market.
It was reported that his 4th round victory over 12 time grand slam champ Djokovic was the most watched grand slam match on Korea’s JTBC cable network. Asian media is highly interested in the future of this young athlete, and it would be foolish for companies to not make their pitch to the future star.