Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer's affiliation with Nike has officially come to an end after 21 years. After recent reports that the 36-year-old was to sign a lucrative long-term deal with Uniqlo, the Japanese brand has confirmed Federer as its newest global brand ambassador.
The announcement came after the 20-time Grand Slam winner was seen sporting unbranded warm-ups ahead today’s first-round Wimbledon straight-sets win over Serbia's Dusan Lajovic. During the match, the Swiss star wore a white Uniqlo shirt, shorts, and headband with Nike sneakers.
Federer's 10-year contract with Nike, signed in 2008 and said to be the biggest in the history of tennis, ended on March 1. According to reports, the Uniqlo deal is for 10 years and is worth an estimated $300 million.
As Tennis World USA previously mentioned, an interesting point regarding Federer’s switch is the fact that Uniqlo doesn't produce tennis sneakers. Now, however, it appears Federer will continue to wear Nike shoes in combination with his Uniqlo apparel.
Several other players have circumvented this issue in a similar way. Andy Murray initially continued wearing adidas footwear after he left the Three Stripes for Under Armour, and Novak Djokovic wore adidas Barricades when he signed with the Japanese fast-fashion giant.
Djokovic left Uniqlo for Lacoste last year, but the brand still counts names such as Kei Nishikori among its ambassadors. Golfer Adam Scott is rumored to have swapped Uniqlo for Under Armour as of next year.
Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg has suggested that Uniqlo will have to rebrand Federer, as Nike currently owns the “RF” logo. Some of Federer’s most notable ’fits from his time with Beaverton include the "Darth Vader" from the 2007 US Open and the infamous military-style jacket worn at Wimbledon in 2009 (along with a number of other jackets and blazers worn at SW19).
The Swiss star has held a number of endorsement deals over his career with brands including Moët & Chandon, Gillette, Rolex, Lindt, and racket-maker Wilson.
How do you feel about Federer transferring to Uniqlo? Air your views in the comments below.
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