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"Advantage, Nike?": The brand relishes Rafael Nadal's win with slight swipe at Roger Federer
"He now stands alone at the top as the GOAT in the men’s game," Nike wrote on Twitter.
Published Feb 03, 2022
Just minutes after Rafael Nadal captured his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, Nike was ready to do some winning of their own. Although the Spaniard's five hour 24 minutes victory over world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev was one for the history books, it doesn't necessarily end the GOAT debate, but for his clothing sponsor it sure did.
"He now stands alone at the top as the GOAT in the men’s game," Nike wrote on Twitter with a creative video showcasing the relentless road Nadal took to get where he is now. The celebratory video features a witty and short phrase, "Advantage, Nadal." Nike didn't stop there, they went all in just like their star tennis player. The sports apparel giant prepared an entire advertising kit, which meant billboards in Time Square, and in front of the Crypto.com Arena, formerly known as Staples Center in Los Angeles.
With billboards of Nadal around the globe, it's hard not to think about the days when Federer donned the brand on the court. Back in 2018, Federer decided to part ways from Nike since they wouldn't increase their annual rate of $10 million. But before you get disappointed, don't. The Swiss Maestro picked up a partnership with Japanese brand, Uniqlo for a shocking $300 million and this staggering deal is for clothing only.
Therefore the winning continued when Federer sealed 3% ownership of On Running, which translates to about $300 million annually. Dropping that $10 million Nike deal for $600 million doesn't sound so bad now, doesn't it?
Other than Nike celebrating Nadal's unbelievable accomplishment, it could perhaps be a moment they've been waiting for. The moment where their sponsored-player triumphs their ex-sponsored player.
Advantage, Nike? Hardly. The GOAT debate is alive more than ever and Nadal's win inspired Federer to also push his own boundaries and continue going after what he loves. After the world No. 5's win, he took to social media to express his happiness for his friend and on-court rival.
“A few months ago we were joking about both being on crutches. Amazing. Never underestimate a great champion," Federer wrote. "Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless others around the world.
“I am proud to share this era with you and honored to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me in the past 18 years.
Federer is currently working towards his return to the tour. Although things aren't progressing as fast as he would like, he's feeling eager to get back to the court and will have a more detailed plan come April. The former No. 1 spoke about his on-going recovery from his third knee surgery earlier this week during a Credit Suisse conference.
For now, Nadal leads the way with 21 major titles, but Federer and Novak Djokovic are trailing just behind him at 20.