Jul/18

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Does Federer’s Change to Uniqlo Change Your Opinion of the GOAT?

I’m still digesting Fed’s switch to Uniqlo. Now, on a purely financial basis, the switch from Nike to Uniqlo was a no-brainer. Federer was reportedly making $10 million a year with Nike and now $23 million for the next ten years with Uniqlo. Eagle-eyed observers spotted that although he had a Uniqlo headband, t-shirt, tracksuit top, shorts and socks, Federer was still wearing Nike tennis shoes, with the London skyline stitched in gold and the number 8 – representing his eight Wimbledon titles.

Does that mean Fed will continue to wear Nike shoes and receive extra money for continuing his shoe alliance with Nike? I’ve never been a big follower of who wears what clothing. Johnny Mac went from Tacchini to Nike. Agassi went from Nike to Adidas. But Fed and Nadal were both Nike giants with Fed even having his own building named after him on the Nike campus.

Fed seemed ungrateful when he talked about his switch.

“I was excited to wear Uniqlo today. I must tell you, it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “The RF logo is with Nike, but it will come to me 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.

“It’s also something that was very important for me, for the fans really. They are my initials. They are mine. The good thing is it’s not theirs forever.”

Well really, Roger, it’s not yours. I’m pretty sure Nike designed it, not you. To me, Fed seems to think everything should fall into place for him. But Uniqlo is a Japanese company and might not have the popularity of Nike around the world. And Fed and Nike developed such stylish shoes and tennis wear, I don’t think so many Europeans and Americans will start wearing Uniqlo just because Fed is now wearing their wares.

But does this change your mind in how you think about Fed? That he would change his brand just because he is getting paid much more money? The almighty dollar is obviously ruling Fed; does that besmirch his usually stellar reputation?Federer

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42 comments

  • Tom Sawyer · July 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    It is strange seeing Fed in the Uniqlo logo because Fed and Nike are synonymous, and I just assumed Fed would be a Nike guy for life. Sounds like there is tension between Rog and Nike on the RF logo that has been lingering awhile – I don’t think it’s right that Rog throw any shade on his main sponsor for his entire career – he did sign the contract and agree to those terms on the logo.

    But, don’t blame him at all for taking the Uniqlo offer. Just think of what more he’ll do from a philanthropic standpoint with the extra income, and it shows he’ll still be highly involved with the sport as he transitions from player to ambassador.

  • catherine · July 4, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    No, why should it ? Long after Federer’s retired who’s going to care what clothes he wears and how much he was paid ?

    Did Simona lose fans because she ditched adidas, who started her on her way and hooked her up with Cahill, because Nike offered more money ? Of course not.

    It’s expected behaviour.

    And to quote, or misquote: ‘ the price is forgotten, the quality remains’.
    Even when they’re signing the contract, they all know that.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Catherine,

    I get a chuckle over you. You’re comparing Simona Halep to Roger Federer? I know I don’t follow women’s tennis much, but for the many who do, who knows what clothing Halep wears? Its not like her Nike or Adidas dresses are flying off the racks.

    Federer on the other hand, his stuff sells big-time. Look, my son gets Adidas stuff at a discount because he’s no. 4 in the East, 12 and under, but if New Balance or Nike gives him a better deal, he’d switch. But Head will give him free racquets now, but he won’t switch because he likes using Babolats which I can’t stand. Kid’s costing me a lot of money not switching to Head.

    Personally, I don’t care if Fed wears Nike or Uniqlo, but caught the attention of my son and he seemed upset Fed would just stop wearing Nike clothing. Possibly, because he identifies with Nike and no junior wears Uniqlo.

  • Hartt · July 4, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    We fans do get caught up in stuff. I know it is silly, but I could hardly believe it that Fed would leave Nike for Uniqlo – I tend to identify him with Nike after all these years. But I will get used to seeing him in Uniqlo, and just hope they have some decent designs for him.

    I wonder if, in addition to the actual $, Fed felt that Nike did not appreciate him enough when they would not match the Uniqlo offer. The amount cited has ranged from $20 million per year over 10 years to $30 million per year. So I don’t think we know the actual amount unless Tony Godsick or Fed divulges it, everything else is speculation.

  • catherine · July 4, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Dan – I really don’t believe you sometimes. I never compared Simona Halep with Roger Federer. You’re being purposely obtuse and there seems no end to your contempt for women’s tennis, in whatever shape it appears.

    It clearly escaped your attention but earlier this year Simona left adidas and played without a clothing contract at the AO and then signed with Nike for a considerable sum just after. My point simply was that here was another example of a switch of brands presumably for $$$$ from a player who’d been associated with one label her whole career. Does that make sense ? Simona’s fans certainly noticed. And girls may buy her Nike gear. She’s No 1 in the world. But you probably don’t know that.

    Myself, I’m really quite indifferent to which clothing lines players wear or how much they’re paid or whether the clothes fly off the shelves or not. I notice what styles there are, and I like some more than others, but otherwise it really doesn’t register. Kids think about that stuff but I haven’t been a kid for a long time and I find stories about money supremely boring.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Contempt for women’s tennis because I refuse to put Halep on the same level of significance as Federer. Catherine, make up your own stories. No, I’m not drawn to women’s tennis because I don’t see anyone in the women’s games besides Keys at times who really draws my interest. I’m sure when I go to the back courts at the US Open this year, there will be young female players who’s games I find exciting.

    As for Fed floating over to Uniqlo, of course it’s a story about money, but if you want to think this way and as a father of a 12-year-old I do think this way, where’s the loyalty? Nike probably gave Fed a contest when he wasn’t worldwide famous Fed. Where’s the loyalty to that gesture. It teaches young tennis players, when you get the better deal, don’t try to work things out with your old partner. Drop them and always look for the better deal for you.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Fed did what all of us would have done, take the bigger better offer. Nike lowballed Sampras, Agassi at the end too. I guess it becomes cost effective for Nike to divest in the big names who only have a year or two left. I guess it’s the better business decision to invest in the younger players with potential like Tsitsipas, Khachanov, Felix, Shap, etc. Nike is going to take heat for this and also in the near future when they lowball Rafa and Serena which is inevitable.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    I think possibly as much as 90% of the public who wore Nike for Federer will switch over to Uniqlo for Federer. The Fed fan demographic is surely a well to do demo. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out and if there’s a backlash against Nike for being perceived to have disrespected the undisputed King and Godfather of Tennis.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 4, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Scoop,

    Now tell me, if Fed plays Nishikori in a big slam match like Djoko did against Nishikori, are you going to say as you did with Djokovic, that he purposely lost the match because Uniqlo asked/paid him to lose it?

    Or damn the fact that Nishikori is Japanese. Now Fed is Uniqlo’s main man. Because we saw Uniqlo drop Djoko when his ranking fell, but Nishikori’s ranking has dropped too and he’s still with Uniqlo.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 4, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Dan, I never said Djokovic tanked that match but a credible insider hinted that me may have and her argument made a fair bit of sense. That match made Nishikori a big star and took him to a higher level. Did Djokovic tank it? We may never know. We will see how much longer Kei stays with Uniqlo now that Fed is the brand’s top dawg. Kei is very popular in Japan and it’s possible the company will keep him as their ambassador forever. Like Graf-adidas.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 2:03 am

    Dan- read my lips (or my words). I didn’t put Simona Halep on the same level as Roger Federer. I said there were similarities in their sponsorship dealings. That’s all. So make up your own stories. (Adidas probably let Simona go because outside Romania she’s not as marketable as Muguruza, Wozniaki and Kerber. Unfair, but that’s life.)

    And let’s not forget the role of agents in all this. Often they’re the ones pulling the strings.

    Scoop – if it suits, as did Graf/adidas,both stay loyal. I’d also be very surprised if Kerber ever switched. Who could be more German ? Like Kei and uniqlo. Where the brand has a national affiliation the loyalty tends to be permanent.

    My, this site has become bad tempered. On another thread you have two guys swearing at each other and threatening GBH in a car park – a joke ? If so, not very funny.

    Meanwhile Wimbledon is trundling on….

  • Michael in UK · July 5, 2018 at 8:24 am

    The economics of sports sponsorship is fascinating and deeply puzzling.

    To me the Fed Uniqlo deal is surprising because Uniqlo is a brand aimed primarily at the young, or relatively young.
    Federer stands for tradition.
    Why not go with someone much younger and good looking, obvious choice would be Sasha Zeverev, or Shapo, or to bring in appeal to asian markets Heyon Chung?

    But hey what do I know?

    Also, I have posted a comment about Dr Ivo v Struff yesterday on the Wimbledon thread. Do take a look.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Izzie gets a gift from Bemelman’s to get break in 5th set. Izzie has been going back and forth rather testily I might add with our man, Lahyani in the chair. After the break, Gimel who’s in Izzie’s box, jumped up and made some hand motions at Izzie. MacPhearson is right there, but it looks like Gimel can never sit back.

    Pat McEnroe says, “Izzie escapes!” and that’s exactly what he did. Izzie has great draw. He’d have to play Tisitspas if he serves out match against Donaldson. Unbelievable, Izzie’s never been past 4th Rd at Wimby and now he has his chance.

  • Chazz · July 5, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Sounds like Donaldson blew it up a break in the 5th. Tsitsipas is really good though and expected to win. Bravo Tiafoe and McDonald for getting into the 3rd round. ‘Foe will finally have to play someone under 34 next round (and it could be Baghdatis who is 33!). Likely Khachanov in a must-see matchup of young phenoms. Looks bleak for Fritz against Zverev but anything can happen. Just avoid his backhand and serve well, easier said than done 🙂

  • Chazz · July 5, 2018 at 9:28 am

    BTW Tiafoe is now up to #43, ahead of Johnson now and the only Americans he’s behind are Isner, Sock and QBall.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Michael – the economics of sports sponsorship is quite easy: mostly, it’s all about money, with a dash of player as marketing tool thrown in.

    For eg, Simona Halep went to Nike because the company is looking for young but promising players and Nike offered a very much better deal than adidas, who, obviously were prepared to lose her. Nike must have preened themselves after RG.

    Very unlikely that German adidas would let Sascha Zverev go to a Japanese company. Or anywhere else. At least for now. And when Kerber had her good year in 2016 I imagine other companies came sniffing around but adidas would not have wanted to lose their blonde Nordic icon so probably inked a new contract. Angie sells, win or lose and that rings bells in the adidas boardroom. Zverev sells too, and he’s a lot younger.

    As you say Federer brings tradition to uniqlo and tradition is important in Japan. Fed is tennis royalty. He can lift the brand image. Uniqlo is not exactly Bond St.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Sorry, Izzie faces Albot next then winner of Tsitspas v Fabbiano. Johnny Mac said the Greek freak is going to be a top 5 player if he just fills out his legs.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 5, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Isner and Albot meet for the fourth time this year in what is becoming a budding rivalry. The New York City Open, Delray, Lyon and now SW19.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2018 at 10:36 am

    You Cilic pickers, you’re wrong. He’s out in third round to Pella, who I like, but was the big underdog versus the big Croat. Donaldson seems the opposite of Sock, respectful, gave Tsitspas a nice handshake at the end.

    Biggest story of this Wimby for me so far has been Bouchard bringing back Robert Landsdorp to coach her at the age of 80. Sampras, Austin, Alexandra Stevenson, Elliot Teltscher and much more. Landsdorp is a legendary coach.

  • Chazz · July 5, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Well I feel really dumb for picking Cilic. I thought it was his time after making it to the final last year. My backup is Djoker, who destroyed his first two opponents.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Michael, Fed is so omnipotent that he can make or break an ATP tournament or a brand name. Nike could have made a mistake underestimating Fed’s sellability at 37. Surely Fed will play more Asian events now. Nike could regret this decision. And Uniqlo could vault up there to the Nike Under Armor level.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Struff is a very good player, I mentioned about how surprisingly good his volleys were earlier this year. Ivo is down to about 130 in the rankings now, his lowest rank in many years. He could be at the end. He really needed to get a roll going at Wimbledon, his best surface to get some valuable ATP points. Ivo can play Newport again, he lost early last year in a surprise to Gojo, this year he needs to win Newport to get his ranking back up.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Cilic losing is not a total shock, Pella has played Fed twice on grass and given him a good match both times with very close scorelines. Obviously Pella is one of those rare Argentines who likes to play on grass and knows how to play on grass. He played well to win it, more so than Cilic being overly tight and choking. I was impressed by Pella’s play and he earned this win. It was not a blatant Cilic choke.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 5, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Yes awful pick by me to take Cilic. I was clearly seduced by his wife. He barely performed better than Sock or Grigor.

    By now it’s clear Fed will win. I wonder if Isner can be a true dark horse, though.

    Tomic in a tight match with Kei as he tries to advance to face Kyrgios.

    Starting to believe in this Diatchenko and not just because she is gorgeous.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Konta out to Cibulkova SS. At the net Johanna towers over Domi. How many matches has Konta won after hiring Michael Joyce ? Expect to see Michael on his way soon.

    I was watching Konta the other day and was struck by something really wrong in her movement around the court. Don’t know what it is – but she can’t scamper, can’t flow, sort of lumbers.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 5, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    What nobody is talking about is that Rafa is still on the Nike payroll. Either this continues or he has to be looking elsewhere as well.

    As has been said on this site, it is likely Rafa surpasses Fed in Slams and becomes the GOAT. Perhaps Nike realized this and will throw its resources to the Spanish star. I am not sure that is a good plan, though.

    Cibulkova let her racket do the talking and proved she deserved to be seeded at SW19. Konta is quite a mess, however.

    Tough loss for Riske as she had match point. Also Boulter goes down in straight sets – she has become a darling of the British tabloids.

  • Hartt · July 5, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    This seems to be the general thread now, so will post this here.

    Although it was disappointing to see Shapo lose to Paire today, one Canuck youngster did win his match. Felix Auger Aliassime won his QF match in the Marburg Challenger. In live rankings he is now at his career best of No. 140, and could jump several spots if he wins the tourney.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Early days but I’d put money on Simona. Only thing wrong with her is that terrible Nike outfit – awful skirt.

    Remember the Nike pink earlier this year ? Yuk.

    That’s where the $$$$ go – Nike have to bribe players to wear their stuff.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Muguruza out – surprise ? No.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    King, Navratilova, Graf and Williams sisters the only women players in the Open era to have defended the Wimbledon singles title.

    That’s 50 years.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Catherine, maybe Shap and Konta should trade coaches? Paire looked incredible today, he can show flashes of playing like a grand slam champion, Paire is an incredible talent with a long armed long legged body and he moves like silk. When inspired and in positive spirits, Paire can slay any goliath. Conversely, he can lose to any journeyman on the wrong day. Concerns mount with the progression of Shap. He needs a new voice a new leader to get his career back on track. I’m sorry to say Laurendeau is failing miserably and should resign his post. Shap like Sock is going in the wrong direction, though not nearly as badly as Sock is at the moment.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Fritz is the most impressive American player today, hanging in there with Zverev and then stunning the Russian in the second and third sets. This is a special player who can do big things in pro tennis.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Zverev is German Scoop.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    He’s Russian, he plays for Germany. My Russian friends tell me he’s Russian. 🙂

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Lots of people play for countries they were not born in. A few in the US. And Australia. Zverev’s nationality is German so he should be referred to as German.

    Do we refer to Petko as Serbian because she was born there ? She’s German.

    You can’t represent one country while at the same time claiming you actually belong to another. Imagine the confusion in international competition.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Zverev is German by nationality. Lots of people represent countries they were not born in. The US, Australia, the UK, Germany, and so on.

    You can’t play for one country and at the same time claim you belong to another. Imagine the confusion.

    When you refer to Zverev as ‘the Russian’ people might not know who you’re talking about.

  • catherine · July 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Don’t know why that came up twice – you only have to read it once 🙂

    The first disappeared.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 6, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Scoop the Russians want to claim Sascha because of his dad and because they can’t produce a top-5 player!

    In reality it doesn’t matter where these players are from since the Euro ATP players all live in Monaco for tax purposes anyway. Or Switzerland where you can easily hide money. Is Navratilova an American or not? Is Steffi Graf? Doesn’t really matter since they live here and have made fortunes. You can call them anything you like.

  • Duke Carnoustie · July 6, 2018 at 12:19 am

    The crybaby Jack Sock was fined $5,000 by SW19.

    He explained that he said what he did because Berretini’s coach was “talking down” at Sock.

    “He was in the wrong for saying the things he did,” Sock said. “I’m definitely in the wrong for saying what I did after the match. I shouldn’t have gone that far.”

    Sock also said he thinks he will turn it around.

    My comment: Whatever the coach said was probably comments ripping Sock’s game and therefore is correct. Sock has thin skin and you can never succeed at a cutthroat sport with that attitude. He has the toughness of a thin-skinned liberal. Grow up already.

  • catherine · July 6, 2018 at 2:58 am

    Duke –

    Navratilova is a Czech. She has dual citizenship now and she represents the US for purposes such as Fed Cup etc and she lives in the US but emotionally she’ll never stop being Czech. I’ve seen her in the stands when the CR play other countries in Fed Cup and she was in Prague this year watching Kvitova win the tournament there, and then later for a celebration event in memory of Jana Novotna.

    In the same way Steffi will always be German.

    So you’re right – you can call people whatever you like but for nationality purposes it’s what they choose themselves. And Sascha chooses to be German.

  • Hartt · July 6, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Scoop, your Russian friends may want to claim Sascha, but not only does he say he is German, but he was born (and raised) in Germany. He isn’t even one of those players who moved to a different country as a small child.

  • catherine · July 6, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Hartt – you’re right. And on another thread Duke continues to refer to Sascha as ‘Russian’. Can’t we leave it to the people concerned to decide which nationality they are ?

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