There are some athletes who are synonymous with certain brands: David Beckham is team adidas, Allen Iverson is team Reebok, and Roger Federer is team Ni… wait, what?
Earlier this summer, the Swiss maestro stunned the tennis world when he announced his affiliation with the Swoosh was coming to an end after 21 years. Federer, who turned 37 this month, revealed he would be signing with Japanese casual wear brand Uniqlo, with his decade-long deal reported to be worth somewhere in the region of $300 million.
Federer isn’t Uniqlo’s first tennis signee: Novak Djokovic, now with Lacoste as of last year, wore the label as he temporarily broke the Federer-Rafael Nadal duopoly, while domestic favorite Kei Nishikori is still tied to the brand. Still, to capture the greatest tennis player of all time was widely interpreted as a coup for Uniqlo, given A) Federer’s seemingly unbreakable association with Nike; and B) Uniqlo couldn’t exactly be defined an elite activewear company, despite its other tennis associations.
In a new interview with Vogue, Federer has opened up for the first time about his new sponsor. Read some choice excerpts below, and pre-order the current world number two’s Wimbledon whites and US Open outfit here.
On the versatility of tennis apparel
“I think it’s important to remember the core idea of what tennis [clothing] is; it actually works very well on- and off-court,” says Federer. “I think tennis in the past was always very wearable off-court, not only the shoes, but the polo we used to play in.”
On how quickly the deal came about
“I signed the deal on Thursday before Wimbledon and I walked out [on the court] on Monday, you know?” he said, explaining that the accelerated timeline made simplicity a big focus. “The good thing is it was Wimbledon, so it was all whites. We knew there is only so much you can do, and we did some testing beforehand making sure the fit, it’s good, it’s tailored, everything works; there is no drama there. I think we did a really nice job coming out with an outfit people enjoyed, so that was nice.”
On current tennis outfit aesthetics
“I feel sometimes tennis has lost its way just to be loud, just to be recognizable, you know?”
Do you find it odd watching Federer in a brand other than Nike? And who do you think will win this year’s US Open? Leave us a comment below.
Staying with sports, Juventus‘ new away kit is here and we like it very much.