Wimbledon 2018: Why Roger Federer has signed deal with new sponsor Uniqlo and is no longer wearing Nike

On Monday Federer appeared on Centre Court wearing a brand new Uniqlo strip, thus ending his 10-year partnership with Nike

Luke Brown
Monday 02 July 2018 16:20 BST
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Roger Federer’s career-long association with Nike has come to an end, as the reigning Wimbledon champion walked out onto Centre Court today wearing a new Uniqlo branded outfit.

On Monday Federer appeared for his first round match against Dušan Lajović wearing a brand new Uniqlo strip, thus ending his 10-year partnership with Nike which was said to have been worth $10m (about £7.5m) a year.

The Nike swoosh that adorns his characteristic bandana was gone, as was the elaborate RF logo that is usually stitched into his jacket and bag.

Federer is now unable to use the design as it is owned by the American apparel and equipment company, although that didn’t stop thousands of his fans from sporting the design around the All England Club.

“So the RF logo is with Nike at the moment, but it will come to me at some point,” Federer explained after his straightforward 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 win. “I hope rather sooner than later, that Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me. It's also something that was very important for me, for the fans really.

“Look, it's the process. But the good news is that it will come with me at one point. They are my initials. They are mine. The good thing is it's not theirs forever. In a short period of time, it will come to me.

“Obviously we also need to figure out with Uniqlo when at one point we can start selling clothes for the public as well. All this has just gotten underway. We're hopeful the beginning of next year people can also start buying my stuff.

“For the moment, as fast at retailing as they are, as great as they are, it just needs a bit of time.”

Federer did however retain his Nike shoes — the company that has sponsored him during all of his previous record 20 Grand Slam wins — as Uniqlo do not currently manufacture tennis footwear. Uniqlo previously had a deal with Novak Djokovic, with the Serb wearing Asics shoes.

“I was excited to wear Uniqlo today,” Federer added. “I must tell you, it's been a long time coming. I felt very good out there. It's also crucial to play well, so it was helpful.”

Uniqlo meanwhile issued a statement to confirm it had signed the 36-year-old Swiss as a global brand ambassador.

“UNIQLO, the Japanese global apparel retailer, announces today a partnership with Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of all-time and one of the world's most influential and universally admired people, as its newest Global Brand Ambassador,” it said.

Federer wearing his new Uniqlo kit

“The new partnership means that Mr Federer will represent UNIQLO at all tennis tournaments throughout the year, starting with The Championships, Wimbledon 2018.”

And while no financial details were revealed, sources close to Federer have reported the new deal will be worth around $30m a year, compared with the $10m dollars a year agreement Federer had with Nike.

Uniqlo also sponsor Japan's number one men's player Kei Nishikori. Nike meanwhile sponsors Federer's long-time rival Rafael Nadal as well as leading women's players Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

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