Are we seeing a changing of the guard? Tennis legend Roger Federer has renounced his 20-year sponsorship with Nike and taken-up a new deal with Japanese retailer Uniqlo reported to be worth a whopping $US300 million ($A408 million) over the next 10 years.
And it’s the perfect time for the fashion brand with Wimbledon starting yesterday.
According to reports on US sports site ESPN, Uniqlo initially offered Federer $US21 million to wear its gear. However, the Swiss legend managed to up the price to $US30 million per annum in a deal that also allows him to sell other patches on his tennis shirt – something Nike had refused him from doing.
Even better for the 36-year-old, Uniqlo’s cash will keep coming over the next decade even if he retires from tennis which, at his age, seems rather likely.
Not that Federer has forgone Nike altogether, when he strolled out onto the Wimbledon grass for his first round clash yesterday he still had the brand’s shoes on his feet.
Federer isn’t the first high profile tennis player to make the move to Uniqlo on the court – three-time Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic also worked with the brand before switching to LaCoste in 2017.
Tadashi Yanai, founder and chairman of Uniqlo, said, Federer is one of the greatest champions in history; my respect for him goes beyond sport. Our partnership will be about innovation on and off court. We share a goal of making positive change in the world, and I hope together we can bring the highest quality of life to the greatest number of people.
“Uniqlo will help Mr Federer continue taking tennis to new places, while exploring innovations in a number of areas including technology and design with him.”
Federer added: “I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships. But like Uniqlo, I also have great love for life, culture and humanity. We share a strong passion to have a positive impact on the world around us and look forward to combining our creative endeavors.”