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Adidas said it was better to look good than be world No. 1 - Sorana Cirstea

Sorana Cirstea is ranked No. 38 in the women's singles. Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Romania's Sorana Cirstea has said brands value players' looks above their performance while drawing up contracts, saying that Adidas told her "it's better to look good and be in top 20 than to not look that good and be No. 1."

Cirstea, who is ranked No. 38 in the women's singles, made the comments on Romanian podcast "La Fileu" last week while discussing advertising contracts handed out to tennis players.

Reuters has contacted Adidas for comment.

The 32-year-old, formerly sponsored by Adidas, said American, Chinese, Japanese and British players are the best-paid, but "Eastern Europe doesn't really sell."

"I remember, for example, when I had a contract with Adidas, considering that I look fairly good for an athlete, they were telling me that it's better to look good and be in the top 20 than to not look that good and be No. 1," Cirstea said.

"When you are in the top 20 you are seen anyway, you are there at every tournament, and they were telling me it's better to be beautiful in top 10, top 20 than less beautiful and No. 1.

"Of course, you realise they have their own quotas, it's a market."

Cirstea reached a career-high ranking of No. 21 in 2013.