It continues to confuse tennis fans why Hsieh Su-Wei doesn’t have a clothing sponsor, but it has positive sides — the most successful tennis player from Chinese Taipei serves as a rare example of a high-ranking athlete not being owned by the corporate world. Moreover, her free status goes well with her positive and likable personality, as she simply focuses on the sport she loves to play and doesn’t waste her precious energy on negotiations and meetings.
Hsieh’s weird apparel situation again attracted attention at the US Open, as the world No.28 advanced to the second round in yet another outfit that combines different logos.
While other tennis stars promote new collections every few weeks, Hsieh doesn’t bother wearing clothes she’s owned for years, as David Kane quoted her on Twitter:
I’ve had this outfit since a couple years ago. I really love the Ralph Lauren stuff here. Sometimes my dresses shrink in the dryer, so I’m running out of match wear. I didn’t see anything else I like, so I wore my US Open outfit!
Further explaining the situation, David Kane added:
Hsieh shrugged off suggestions she seek a clothing sponsor, saying the market in her home country is too small for a contract, and international contracts require negotiations she’d rather not waste “tennis time” hashing out.
Also on the first day of the US Open, WTA’s senior writer Courtney Nguyen tweeted:
Hsieh Su-Wei is wearing a frayed af US Open branded visor.
That wouldn’t be mind-boggling if Hsieh’s biography didn’t include a Top 25 WTA singles ranking, No.1 doubles ranking, 3 WTA singles titles, 3 Grand Slam doubles titles, and a win over world No.1 Simona Halep at last year’s Wimbledon.
So why doesn’t Hsieh have a clothing sponsor?
There are several theories, mostly having to do with politics, so it’s quite complicated:
- Her country’s athletes tend to get sponsors through government and companies close to the government, while Hsieh doesn’t have good relations with the Chinese Taipei Tennis Association;
- Sports clothing giants don’t want to risk their lucrative opportunities in the Chinese market;
- Hsieh doesn’t refrain from voicing controversial opinions, which sponsors can view as bad PR.
Are there any reasons that you know about? Tell us in the comments!
As my photographer Jimmie48 and many others have commented, Hsieh’s lack of clothing sponsors has made her a tennis fashion queen of her own kind. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are style icons with their custom-made Nike apparel, while the 33-year-old Hsieh is a different sort of fashion leader in the top of the WTA world, free to mix and match various brands, not worried about complying with the rules of big corporations.
In one way, it’s very refreshing to see! Also, wasn’t it the case that the Radwanska sisters didn’t have clothing sponsors for a few years, even when Aga was in the top 10?
Hsieh doesn’t have an agent to help her in negotiations for sponsors. I believe she books her own flights, hotels lodgings and the likes. More power to her!
I suspect the main issue is brands not wanting to offend the mainland Chinese. Some outlier brand that wants an edgy image should make some stuff specially for her.
Good for her. If she doesn’t mind not having a clothing sponsor, it’s actually quite refreshing to see someone wearing ‘old’ clothing – especially in today’s world of use-it-once-and-throw-it-out… Some company, however, should send her some newer items to wear, just because, but they should be one-of-a-kinds – not these duplicate outfits that everyone else is wearing. Sounds like she would get full mileage out them, for sure. Keep on being your own person, Hsieh Su-Wei!!
Bróna, you’re right. Aga was in the top of the game and didn’t have a clothing sponsor. She’s been with Lotto since late 2011, while 2012 was her Top 5 debut season. I did a fashion overview of her 2012 Lotto dresses: https://womenstennisblog.com/2012/12/08/fashion-overview-agnieszka-rawanska-working-lotto-in-her-top-5-debut-season/
CLT, I think the reason you stated is the main one.
Katherine Gibbons, I agree that there must be many smaller companies that would benefit from sponsoring her. However, despite being unsponsored in terms of apparel, Hsieh still has a lot of money, so I’m not sure that smaller deals would interest her. She would rather keep her freedom.
As an aside on the mens side, American Tennys Sadgren wears a hat with no emblem on it, and he wears a plain white tee. He came back from 2 sets down to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round, and then wouldn’t toss any of his wristbands into the crowd saying, “Hey I paid for these. I have to keep using them!” I have seen him also wearing different brand apparel at tournaments like Hsieh.
Jim, that’s a good story! I’ve checked it, his career-high ranking was No.41, now he’s 72. He’s also ranked quite high, although Hsieh’s career is way more successful. There’s a funny thing in his ATP bio: ” If he wasn’t a tennis player, he would be a failed pro gamer.”
What brand was her white top at the Wimbledon double final?
Miriam G, it is Bidi Badu.