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Federer opens Wimbledon defence with lucrative Uniqlo deal

Roger Federer has commenced his title defence at the Wimbledon tennis championships by securing a lucrative new apparel deal with Japanese retailer Uniqlo.

Terms of the partnership were not disclosed by Uniqlo, but the ESPN.com website said the Swiss tennis great has signed a 10-year deal worth more than $300m (€256.6m) guaranteed.

Federer (pictured) becomes Uniqlo’s newest global brand ambassador. Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo founder and chairman, along with president and chief executive of parent company Fast Retailing, said: “Mr. Federer is one of the greatest champions in history; my respect for him goes beyond sport.

“Our partnership will be about innovation on and off court. We share a goal of making positive change in the world, and I hope together we can bring the highest quality of life to the greatest number of people. Uniqlo will help Mr. Federer continue taking tennis to new places, while exploring innovations in a number of areas including technology and design.”

The 20-time grand slam champion added: “I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships. But like Uniqlo, I also have great love for life, culture and humanity. We share a strong passion to have a positive impact on the world around us and look forward to combining our creative endeavours.”

Monday’s announcement ends one of sport’s most enduring endorsement partnerships. Federer has worn apparel from US company Nike since 1994, but took to the court at Wimbledon for his straight sets win over Dusan Lajovic with his new Uniqlo clothing.

ESPN.com said Nike was given the right to match Uniqlo’s offer but passed on the opportunity. The 36-year-old’s deal with Nike had expired on March 1, but he had continued to wear the brand’s clothing before signing today’s deal.

The new contract reportedly holds an unprecedented clause through which Federer will gain the full $300m sum even when he retires from his playing career. Uniqlo will also allow him to add extra sponsor patches to his kit, a right he did not have access to during his Nike association.

In addition to Federer, the Uniqlo Global Brand Ambassadors today are Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori; wheelchair tennis players Shingo Kunieda and Gordon Reid; and Australian golfer Adam Scott.