Top-seeded Roger Federer debuted a new look as he opened his Wimbledon title defense with a straight-set win over Dusan Lajovic on Monday. The 36-year-old, whose longtime apparel deal with Nike expired in March, walked onto Centre Court sporting the red and white square logo of the Japanese brand Uniqlo on his jacket, shirt, headband and socks.
“I was excited to wear Uniqlo today, I must tell you,” Federer, who signed his initial contract with Nike in 1997 and had been wearing the brand ever sincesaid after his victory. “It’s been a long time coming. I felt very good out there.”
ESPN reports that Federer’s deal with Uniqlo is worth more than $300 million guaranteed over 10 years. The deal reportedly gives Federer the right to sell additional sponsorship patches on his shirt, something Nike didn’t allow him to do. Federer declined to confirm the terms of his contract Monday.
“It’s good you know my contract or you have no clue and you’re just saying something,” Federer said with a smirk while wearing a Uniqlo sweatshirt after needing a little more than hour to defeat Lajovic, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.
Uniqlo, which outfitted Novak Djokovic before the Serbian tennis star signed a deal with Lacoste last yearannounced Federer as its new “Global Brand Ambassador” on Twitter. The brand’s other athletes include Australian golfer Adam Scott and Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori
“Uniqlo will help Mr. Federer continue taking tennis to new places while exploring innovations in a number of areas including technology and design with him,” Uniqlo founder and chairman Tadashi Yanai said in a statement.
Uniqlo doesn’t make tennis footwear, so Federer wore white Nike shoes with light blue swooshes Monday. They featured his “RF” logo, the London skyline and the number “8,” signifying his record number of Wimbledon titles, embossed in gold. 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 hope rather sooner than later, that Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me,” Federer said. “It’s also something that was very important for me, for the fans really. Look, it’s the process. But the good news is that it will come with me at one point. They are my initials. They are mine. The good thing is it’s not theirs forever. In a short period of time, it will come to me.”
Forbes reports that Federer earned roughly $150 million from Nike over the past 20 years.
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