Could Roger Federer Really Move On from Nike? It’s Not Clear Yet

It’s hard to picture Roger Federer wearing anything but Nike on a tennis court. From his shirt, to his socks, to his shoes, to his Wimbledon headband, the Nike “swoosh” has adorned Federer for over 15 years now. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has worn Nike from the start of his career, but talks are that he’s in the process of signing a ten-year deal with Japanese company Uniqlo.

If rumors are true, the Swiss would also not be able to use the prestigious “RF” logo you see on all of his apparel. Nike separately owns the logo itself, so a complete rebrand would be necessary.

Uniqlo showed they were trying to get more involved in tennis when Novak Djokovic signed with them in 2012 (now with Lacoste). Until then, the only player who wore the Japanese brand is Japanese #1 Kei Nishikori. The only athletes the company currently sponsors are Nishikori, wheelchair tennis player Shingo Kunieda, and Australian golfer Adam Scott.

Losing Federer would undoubtedly be a blow for Nike, but overall they should be just fine. 11-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams still will remain the face of Nike tennis if Federer indeed makes the switch. Other notable Nike tennis athletes include first-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens, Maria Sharapova, Juan Martin Del Potro, Nick Kyrgios, and Grigor Dimitrov, among others.

In 2014, Federer also unveiled his first Nike Jordan Brand shoe inspired by Jordan 3s. Federer took the court wearing them in his first round night session match at the US Open against Marinko Matosevic, with Michael Jordan in the crowd.

For what it’s worth, Federer was on the court in Stuttgart today in his Nike apparel. Federer will make his return on Wednesday after last playing at the Miami Open nearly three months ago, losing to Thanasi Kokkinakis. It doesn’t look like anything is imminent, but it’ll be interesting to see what Federer is wearing at the All-England Lawn Tennis Club as Wimbledon begins on July 2nd.

Federer’s Nike contract did expire, but that doesn’t prove anything. Endorsement contracts end all the time. It is certainly in both parties’ best interests to make it work. If the Swiss star and Nike can’t come to an agreement, though, it seems like Uniqlo has made the first move to get the 20-time Slam champion to wear their logo.

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