Roger Federer could stop wearing Nike soon, according to the Times, with Uniqlo positioned to step in as his new clothing sponsor.
A veteran journalist writing for the Italian sports website said no agreement has been reached to renew Federer's contract with Nike, which was rumored to be $10 million a year when originally signed. There is speculation in British tabloids that Uniqlo is offering $30 million a year to Federer.
The Japanese clothing company also sponsors Kei Nishikori, a contract renewed in 2016 for $10 million annually. It also sponsored Novak Djokovic until 2017, and is involved in wheelchair tennis.
Federer in Stuttgart about his clothing sponsor: "It's rumours ... but I don't have a contract with Nike since March. We're talking. We'll see what happens. I'll let you know." @MercedesCup pic.twitter.com/VS1oD6SU9O— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) June 11, 2018
Federer was recently named the fourth-highest earning athlete in sports by Forbes, with his sponsorship earnings of $65 million the highest among the athletes.
Uniqlo does not produce shoes, press in Switzerland have noted. Federer currently wears both clothing and shoes by Nike.
And unlike Nike, Uniqlo allows players to wear patches from other sponsors on their shirts.
Player clothing contracts usually vary significantly depending on player performance and other arrangements.
WATCH—Rafael Nadal TC interview after winning at Roland Garros:
Federer, who skipped the clay-court season for a second year, offered congratulations to Rafael Nadal for his 11th French Open victory.
"The superlatives are lacking," he was quoted as telling press in German. "It is almost unbelievable to win a tournament 11 times. And he did not just do it anywhere, but in Paris."
Though saying he would like to play Nadal again at the French Open, Federer would not question his decision to concentrate on the grass-court season rather than take up what has been described as the sport's biggest challenge—defeating Nadal on clay.
"For me, the biggest victory is winning at Wimbledon," he said. "For others, it might be beating Nadal on clay."
The world No. 2 also happened to describe his break, which he said was enjoyable. But he did add that he was also happy to be playing again.
"I had a nice vacation... first as a family and then [with his wife, Mirka] by ourselves," said Federer. "But most of all I trained, physical training and in recent weeks especially tennis.
"These few weeks have been a bit boring. I want to play matches again."