Novak Djokovic sponsor's shock announcement amid $42 million drama

Novak Djokovic, pictured here speaking to the media at the Italian Open.
Novak Djokovic speaks to the media at the Italian Open. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has lost another one of his major sponsors as the fallout from his continued refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19 continues.

According to Sportico, UKG has ended its three-year partnership with the World No.1.

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The technology firm partnered up with Djokovic in early 2019 when it was known as Ultimate Software, before the business merged with Kronos.

The partnership was reportedly part of a push into the tennis world that also included sponsoring 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 this week.

UKG was one of Djokovic’s patch partners on the sleeve of his Lacoste shirts, along with Peugeot.

In March, Peugeot also severed ties with the 20-time grand slam champion.

Patch partnerships are said to be among the most lucrative for tennis players, and can be worth as much as $10 million.

It has been reported that Djokovic's sponsorships and endorsements total around $42 million per year.

Djokovic was sporting UKG patches on his sleeve while playing in Dubai in February, but not at Monte Carlo or the Madrid Open in recent weeks.

Carlos Tavera, CEO of Peugeot's parent company Stellantis, confirmed in March that they had also ended their partnership with Djokovic.

However Lacoste appears to be sticking by the Serbian star for now.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here in action against Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open.
Novak Djokovic in action against Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Clive Brunskill via Getty Images)

They are believed to be his most lucrative partner and can be worth as much as $10 million annually.

His other remaining sponsors include Head, Asics, Hublot and Raiffeisen Bank.

"We are waiting to see what his position is with regard to all that he went through," Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe previously told Reuters.

"The principle of vaccines is that it's something private. We value personal freedom.

"Everyone can decide. One can be in favour or against. That's our position."

Djokovic was infamously deported from Australia before the Australian Open and missed the chance to defend his title.

He was also forced to skip Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami because he was denied entry into the United States.

He only recently made his return to the ATP tour for the clay-court season and will be allowed to play the French Open.

Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena, pictured here at the Laureus World Sport Awards.
Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena at the Laureus World Sport Awards. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic turns spotlight on Carlos Alcaraz

Meanwhile, Djokovic has hailed Carlos Alcaraz the "best player" of the season so far and said the Spanish teenager is one of the "main favourites" for Roland Garros.

Djokovic, who opens his Rome campaign against Russia's Aslan Karatsev, lost to Alcaraz in the semi-finals in Madrid last weekend and paid tribute at a press conference.

After taking out Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, Alcaraz picked up his fourth title of the year on Sunday with victory over World No.1 Alexander Zverev in the final.

He became the youngest player since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990 to beat three top-five players at the same event.

"So far he's the best player in the world, no question, this year with the results that he's been doing," Djokovic said at the Italian Open.

"The way he was dealing with the pressure in our match a few days ago, how calm he was all the way until the end, was impressive. He deserved to win the trophy."

Alcaraz hit a career-high ranking of No.6 on Monday and leads the tour with 28 wins against three losses in 2022.

with agencies

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