The fact that Roger Federer is the No. 1-ranked player in the world at the age of 31—quite old in professional tennis—is nothing short of amazing. This week he tries to win his sixth U.S. Open title, and with it, $1.9 million in prize money. Of course, that's just a drop in the bucket for Federer, who made $45 million over the past year from endorsement deals with brands such as Credit Suisse, Rolex, and Mercedes-Benz.
The only sponsor that gets to use Federer like a human billboard, however, is Nike. When he's smashing his serves or setting up an almost comically perfect forehand, it will be the Nike logo you'll see the entire time, on separate outfits for night and day. When it's light out, you'll see Federer sporting a RF Hard Court Crew—a sleek, Dri-FIT V-neck made out of a polyester-and-spandex blend. At night, it's time to get formal: Expect to see Federer in a blue RF Hard Court Polo, hopefully with the collar unpopped, and matching woven shorts.
With Rafael Nadal nursing a knee injury, Novak Djokovic (pictured above) becomes the second most likely entrant to the men's final (although Britain's Andy Murray just might shake things up). Djokovic turned heads when he opted to ditch the major sportswear companies to sign with the massive Japanese retailer UNIQLO. His line of warm-up jackets, shirts, pants, shorts, and accessories was released in UNIQLO stores worldwide this week, to coincide with the start of the U.S. Open.
The clean design features red and blue piping across a white background—an homage to the colors of the Serbian flag, according to UNIQLO's creative director, Naoki Takizawa. Yes, there will be logos—plenty of them. It's all part of the Japanese brand's expansion plans, which include a West Coast store in the fall and an online store in the near future. Get ready to watch Djokovic hit the court in UNIQLO gear for a while: His contract, signed in the spring, locks him in for the next five years.
Final score: Federer sizzles with ubiquitous Nike swooshes, but Djokovic steals the show with a surprising endorsement—and allows Japanese fashion to have its day in court.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.