The uproar about Roger Federer ditching the Nike brand has been loud and noisy taking focus away from the stunning start Federer had in his first round match defeating Dusan Lajovic 6-1 6-3 6-4 Federer himself may be partly to blame as he and Uniqlo chose the shock factor of walking onto the biggest stage of tennis in the world without a prior press release or hint of the shocking change leaving Federer fans in complete disarray.
“I was excited to wear Uniqlo today. I must tell you, it’s been a long time coming,” Federer said. “I felt very good out there. It’s also crucial to play well, so it was helpful.”
“I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships,” Federer said via the press release. “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.” Tadashi Yanai, the president of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, added, “Mr. 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.”
Uniqlo is not confirming anything beyond that Federer will wear the brand for Wimbledon and his tournaments this year. Uniqlo’s press release expands to a much broader partnership: “While respectful of new standards they set together, Uniqlo is not a sports company. Uniqlo describes itself as a life company that creates LifeWear…with today’s announcement, LifeWear has a new champion.”
Regarding the RF LOGO:
Federer assures his adoring fans regarding their beloved logo. “The good thing is it’s not theirs (NIKE) forever. In a short period of time, it will come to me.” Federer was prompting Nike to be “nice” and hand over the logo sooner than later in the press conference.
On the timeline, Federer had this to say, “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.”
Before Federer, Kei Nishikori was the biggest name wearing the Japanese brand, which is most well-known as a casual wear brand. Novak Djokovic was with Uniqlo previously, but he switched to Lacoste in 2017. Federer is still representing the Nike swoosh on his shoes.
You can read the complete Uniqlo press release on their website.
Regarding Federer leaving, Nike released this rather cool comment in the Wall Street Journal “We do not comment on athlete contracts,” a spokeswoman for Nike said. “However, we are thankful and proud to have been a part of Roger’s incredible journey and wish him the best in the future. ”