Tennis luminary Roger Federer has parted ways with Nike to join Japanese global apparel retailer Uniqlo. The eight-time Wimbledon champion surprised many fans when he played the first match on Centre Court on the tournament’s first day clad in an all-white Uniqlo outfit. Federer, however, still wore his personalised Nike shoes that include an updated RF logo just for the 2018 Wimbledon Championships because the Japanese brand doesn’t make tennis shoes.
Federer not only debuted his new look at Wimbledon, but also dispatched 58th-ranked Dusan Lajovic, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour 19 minutes.
The 36-year-old Swiss player first signed with Nike in 1994, and the new contract with Uniqlo is reportedly worth US$300 million over the next 10 years. It was signed after Federer’s deal with Nike expired in March.
“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 endeavours,” says Federer.
His game wear for this year’s Wimbledon was designed at the Uniqlo Paris R&D Center, led by artistic director Christophe Lemaire. A short stand-up collar caters to Federer’s preference, keeping him sharp and sophisticated on and off court. The shirt and shorts are also accented by a burgundy colour line to highlight Uniqlo’s corporate colour.
Federer joins a small stable of sponsored athlete, which includes Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori and wheelchair tennis champion Shingo Kunieda. Novak Djokovic, who had been Uniqlo’s biggest star to date, moved to Lacoste last year.