LONDON – Roger Federer boosted his bank balance by a reported $300 million on Monday, marking his 20th straight Wimbledon appearance with a new clothing deal.
The 36-year-old eight-time Wimbledon champion penned a contract with Japanese giants Uniqlo, virtually severing a two-decade association with Nike in the process.
His deal has been widely estimated to be worth $300 million over 10 years, compared to the $10 million he was reportedly making each year from US heavyweights Nike.
Curiously, he was still wearing Nike shoes for his 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbia's Dusan Lajovic on Centre Court on Monday.
Reluctant to discuss figures, Federer is now in a league of his own when it comes to career earnings.
Forbes recently ranked him as raking in around $77 million last year alone in endorsements and prize money.
According to Forbes, only basketball superstar LeBron James and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo are in the same earnings bracket.
“I was excited to wear Uniqlo today. I must tell you, it's been a long time coming,” said Federer.
For the moment, Nike retain the rights to Federer's iconic 'RF' logo but the Swiss star anticipates ownership of that too in good time.
“The RF logo is with Nike, but it will come to me at some point,” he added. “I hope rather sooner than later, that Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me.
“It's also something that was very important for me, for the fans really. They are my initials. They are mine. The good thing is it's not theirs forever.”
Federer insists that he has not had a full divorce from Nike - hence the US company's shoes on the feet of the 20-time Grand Slam winner.
“I don't have a shoe deal. I'm looking forward to see what shoes I will be wearing in the near future.
“For now, I will be wearing Nike. They have shown interest to have a shoe deal with me, as well. Ties are not broken there. I have deep roots with Nike. I've had a great relationship over the last 20 years. But everything is open.”
It may have been all change on the commercial front, but it was business as usual for Federer on court.
The defending champion cruised past world number 57 Lajovic in just 79 minutes.
It was the second successive year that Federer had knocked out the Serb at Wimbledon.
“I'm very happy, I felt good from the start too which was nice and that was not the case last year against him. I remember I struggled early on a lot,” said Federer who hardly broke sweat in Monday's 30-degree hothouse.
“It was a really nice feeling. I always got the early break in each set and was able to bring it home.”
After just 20 minutes to complete the first set, Federer went on to fire 35 winners past Lajovic, breaking serve five times, setting up a second round encounter against either Lukas Lacko of Slovakia or French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)