If you didn’t hear about one of the biggest tennis stories of the year, let me get you caught up. I’m not talking about Novak Djokovic reemerging at Wimbledon, or the melodrama surrounding the Davis Cup, or even an unholy, and wholly unwatchable six hour match between two tall men. No, I’m talking about Uniqlo backing up a cement trunk of money onto Roger Federer’s driveway to steal him away from Nike.
This happened nearly two months ago, and it must have come as a surprise to Uniqlo’s executives, because you still can’t buy tennis gear from them. To put this in the context of a sport you may be more familiar with, imagine if the Lakers waited two months to sell LeBron jerseys, and you’ll start to get a sense of how bizarre this is.
However, they finally just put a limited selection of Federer’s match gear up for preorder (shipping in October), and it looks pretty good! For now, it’s just a single shirt and pair of shorts, both available in red or white. Compared to most of his old Nike gear, it’s very understated—some may even say boring—but it actually looks like something a regular person could wear on a tennis court without looking like, well, like Bill Gates. The distinct lack of RF logos (that’s a whole other drama) helps here too, though it will inevitably lead to boycotts among the investment banker set.
As you’d expect from Uniqlo, the most notable part of the kit is its price tag. Both the shirt and the shorts are priced at $40, compared to the ~$100 or so that Nike usually charged for Federer’s latest gear. I can’t quite square that pricing with the memory of Federer walking out onto Centre Court rocking a cashmere cardigan and a Rolex, but it’s great news for club-level players that want to cosplay as the GOAT.