Alcarez Tops Djokovic in Spain as Sponsors Continue to Drop Tennis’ No. 1

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Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz topped world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open in a thrilling three-set match that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours on Saturday. The win comes a day after the 19-year-old defeated his idol, Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has failed to win any of his four events this year, after being deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open when his medical exemption visa was cancelled. The losses are piling up off the court for the Serb as well.

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Sportico has confirmed that UKG has ended its relationship with Djokovic. The tech firm partnered with Djokovic in early 2019 when it was known as Ultimate Software, before a merger with Kronos. It was part of a push into tennis that also included the Miami Open.

“The sponsorship agreement was already planned to expire this year and we mutually agreed there would be no renewal,” a UKG spokesperson said in an email.

In March, Peugeot announced it was not renewing its sponsorship agreement with Djokovic, which first started in 2014. Peugeot and UKG were Djokovic’s patch partners on either sleeve of his Lacoste shirts. Patch partnerships are among the most lucrative real estate for tennis players because of the air time they get during matches on close-ups as the players serve and pace the court. Djokovic had UKG on his sleeve at Dubai in February, but not when he appeared at Monte Carlo last month or at the Madrid Open the past two weeks.

Lacoste is sticking with Djokovic for now. It is by far his most lucrative endorsement partner and can be worth as much as $10 million annually, including bonuses when the 20-time Grand Slam winner has a big year on the court. His other remaining sponsors include Head, Asics, Hublot and Raiffeisen Bank.

UKG has turned to golf for its sports marketing efforts, with a dozen pros in its endorsement stable, including Will Zalatoris, Fred Couples, Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson. This week, it announced plans to sponsor the NWSL’s Challenger Cup, which will trigger bonus checks 10 times bigger than expected for players.

Djokovic ranked fourth last year among the world’s highest-paid tennis players, with $33.4 million from prize money, endorsements and appearance fees. His $155 million in career prize money is tops all-time, $24 million ahead of Roger Federer.

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