Tennis legend Roger Federer has ended his career-long association with Nike and signed Japanese clothing company Uniqlo.
Gone was the Nike swish from Federer’s iconic bandana and the RF logo from his polo as the Wimbledon champion walked on to Centre Court to open the defence of his title on Tuesday (AEST).
The contract, according to ESPNis worth $US300 million ($408 million) over the next 10 years. In includes an unprecedented clause that allows the Swiss star to earn money even if he doesn’t play.
However, Federer, who had been wearing Nike since 1994, was still wearing Nike shoes.
“I was excited to wear Uniqlo today,” the 36-year-old said in a news conference after his 6-1 6-3 6-4 victory over Dusan Lajovic.
Federer’s Nike deal expired on March 1 after reported tensions between the company and Federer’s team.
Nike planned to expand Federer’s line through his RF logo – a trademark that Nike has owned since 2010 – the source said.
However, Federer said he hoped Nike would be “nice and helpful” and release the RF trademark to the 20-time grand slam champion.
“Yeah, so the RF logo is with Nike at the moment, but it will come to me at some point,” he said after the match.
“I hope, rather sooner than later, that Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me. 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.
“Obviously we also need to figure out with Uniqlo when … we can start selling clothes for the public as well.
“All this has just gotten underway. We’re hopeful [by] 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.”
Uniqlo’s athlete lineup also includes Australian golfer Adam Scott and Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori.
The eight-time Wimbledon champion effectively replaces rival Novak Djokovic as the company’s top ambassador. Djokovic and Nike parted ways in 2017, when his deal ended.
Uniqlo issued a statement to confirm it had signed the Swiss as its global brand ambassador.
— UNIQLO UK (@UNIQLO_UK) July 2, 2018
During last month’s grasscourt event in Halle, Federer confirmed his deal with Nike had expired in March. But he kept his arrangement with Uniqlo firmly under wraps until Monday.
On Sunday, he turned up at the traditional champion’s pre-tournament news conference at the All England Club in a white shirt, grey blazer and navy trousers instead of the tennis whites he has sported in previous years.
The only logo on show was the purple Wimbledon members’ badge pinned to his lapel.