According to ESPN Business Insider Darren Rovell, world number two Roger Federer has not split with Nike. The report from Rovell comes on the news that the Swiss has signed a 10-year, 300 million dollar deal with Uniqlo.
Rovell said that Federer's Nike contract expired on March 1st, ahead of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami, and that there is tension between Federer's camp and Nike but there has not been an official split.
Highly respected Italian tennis journalist Vincenzo Martucci of sportsenators.it was the first one to report of the Uniqlo and Federer rumor. He reported that the Japanese clothing brand was ready to offer Federer $30 million/year for the next 10 years, including after he retires. Swiss media confirmed the offer, but Rovell said there is no official split just yet.
Federer arrived in Stuttgart for his first practice session of the grass season ahead of the Stuttgart open, wearing Nike geat from top to bottom, including his "RF 20" shirt.
With Uniqlo though, the company does not make tennis shoes. When Novak Djokovic was with them, he wore Adidas Barricades. Kei Nishikori also wears Uniqlo and wore Adidas shoes before switching to Nike Vapors starting last year.
The rumor of Federer and Uniqlo though, if it were to come to fruition, would be some kind news, especially with the 2020 Olympics coming up in Tokyo. Having arguably the greatest men's tennis player of all-time wearing a Japanese sponsor in Japan's capital along with Japan's number one would be some bit of business.
There is tension between Federer's camp and Nike and maybe the Swiss' camp could be looking for a lifetime deal with the American clothing company. Basketball stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James were the first two people to sign lifetime deals with Nike.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first soccer player and the third person ever to sign a lifetime deal with Nike. Should Nike put a lifetime deal on the table, Federer would be the first tennis player to sign a lifetime deal with Nike. The world number two would be the second active player with a lifetime apparel deal, following Milos Raonic with New Balance. Federer has a lifetime deal with his racquet company Wilson, promising to use them until he retires and then moving into an ambassador role.