For the first time, Roger Federer has opened up on the reason behind swapping Nike for Uniqlo.
Federer spoke to the New York Times following his shock defeat to Aussie John Millman at the US Open, revealing why he made the surprise switch.
“We tried to work it out for a year, maybe even more than a year — and from my point of view, I thought I was being reasonable,” Federer told the New York Times.
“But everybody sees it differently. And what you see as your value may be not what they see.
“I’m happy to be proven right, with this long-term deal with Uniqlo.”
Federer’s new ten-year deal with Uniqlo is worth $US300 million dollars ($A425 million), and reportedly makes him the highest paid athlete in the world off the pitch.
When negotiations with Nike spanned over a year in total, Federer’s agent started to put feelers out with other sponsors – initiating the conversation with Uniqlo.
The 37-year-old said he was thrilled that Uniqlo recognised Federer for more than just a tennis player, backing him to continue to build and develop their brand well beyond his retirement.
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“Very often at the end of your playing career, people say, ‘Well, he’s going to be a retired tennis player at some point, and that will be it’,” Federer said.
“It felt like they didn’t see me as a falling star, but a star that is always going to be up there, shining brightly.”
The president of global creative for the parent company of Uniqlo, John Jay, summed it up with a simple remark.
“We clearly think his greatest impact on the world is yet to come,” he said.
‘They are mine’: Federer in battle with Nike over iconic logo
When Roger Federer signed a lucrative deal with Uniqlo the tennis great walked away from long-term sponsors Nike, including his iconic ‘RF’ logo.
The rights to the Federer’s personal brand has been retained by Nike because they originally designed it in 2010, and it could lead to a complicated battle for the Swiss star.
The 36-year-old shocked many at Wimbledon this year when he appeared in Uniqlo apparel for the first time, and during a press conference at The Championships, Federer launched a powerful serve to his former sponsor of his desire to get the iconic logo back.
“‘The RF logo is with Nike at the moment, but it will come to me at some point,” Federer said.
“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.”
Federer’s deal with Uniqlo is reported to be worth some $US300 million ($A425m) over a ten year period, dwarfing the deal he held with Nike by a substantial margin.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion originally signed with Nike back when he was a 13-year-old, and is seemingly optimistic that his history with them will play in his favour to retrieve the rights.
“The good news is that it will come with me at one point,” Federer said.
“They are my initials. They are mine.