Top seed Federer marched out on Centre Court dressed for the first time in gear designed by Japanese giant Uniqlo in a deal reported to be worth $300 million after a two-decade association with Nike.
While it may not seem like a big deal, it signalled the end of an nearly two-decade association with Nike, with whom Federer's trademark insignia has become synonymous with the company's tennis apparel. The 36-year-old wore Uniqlo-labeled headband, jacket, shirt and socks during his opening-round match at Wimbledon but with Nike footwear.
Roger Federer booked his spot in the second round of Wimbledon courtesy of a 6-1 6-3 6-4 victory over Serbian Dusan Lajovic on Monday afternoon. But the defending champion caused an upset of sorts off the courts, as he walked in with his new Uniqlo kit, ending months of speculation over the end of his deal with Nike. I felt like I was dealing with it really, really nicely, and it gave me great confidence for this year coming back on grass.
Federer declined to confirm the terms of his contract Monday.
Federer confirmed his switch from the USA sportswear brand to Uniqlo on the first day of Wimbledon by walking out to play in his new outfit but remained in personalised Wimbledon Nike trainers as he beat Dusan Lajovic in straight sets on Monday.
Roger Federer's 21-year run with Nike is over.
According to a Forbes article published last August, Federer was taking home $10m a year from Nike which means his Uniqlo deal is three times more lucrative. In addition to Federer's Nike RF logo, the logo on the right shoe has the No. 8, reflecting how many Wimbledon's he has won. "After his match, Federer said Nike still owns his signature 'RF" mark, but he expects it to be transferred to him "at some point". "I remember I struggled early on a lot", said Federer, who hardly broke sweat in the 30C heat.
"Look, it's the process". In a short period of time, it will come to me. They are my initials. Nike reportedly paid Federer $10 million a year beginning in 2008. The good thing is it's not theirs forever. "I'm looking forward to see what shoes I will be wearing in the near future", Federer said.