From Matteo Berrettini’s Hugo Boss collab to Leylah Fernandez’s Lululemon deal and beyond, a look inside the shifting landscape of athlete sponsorship in the world of tennis
Endorsement deals are interwoven within the fabric of tennis. You’ll not only see dozens of company logos all around a court at a given match, but on the shirts, caps, and equipment used by the players taking part in the proceedings.
Like any sport, the players in whom brands decide to invest their money is ever-changing — just like the trends they attempt to capitalize on. From year to year, contracts expire and companies do their level best to step in and scoop up the big free agent names. And as the 2022 Australian Open heats up, Boardroom is taking a look at some notable tennis players who have debuted new endorsement partners down in Melbourne.
The World No. 7, who made his first career Grand Slam semifinal a year ago, has ditched Italian brand Lotto to join HUGO BOSS with an exciting new partnership. The luxury fashion brand will launch a new BOSS x MATTEO BERRETTINI collection in the summer of 2022 and he’ll be a part of global ad campaigns as early as the spring.
The deal was announced recently, on January 17, and comes as a bit of a surprise. With that said, BOSS couldn’t be a more appropriate sponsor for a man nicknamed “The Hammer” for his imposing game which is built around crushing the ball. It also was surely time for a change given his rise to prominence. He’d outgrown Lotto.
After Berrettini’s switch to BOSS, the biggest news on the sponsorship front would have to be the news that USOpen finalist Leylah Fernandez had signed with Lululemon. The 19-year-old, who began the 2022 season with a career-high ranking at No. 24, had previously donned Asics gear.
She is one of only a handful of players sponsored by the athleisure brand — and one that Lululemon surely hopes will take its footprint in tennis to the next level.
The 2020 Australian Open champion had donned FILA clothing during the entirety of her rise towards the top of the women’s game but announced this week that she would be switching sponsors. She’s now a brand ambassador for Free People, which is unique like Kenin. She’s the first player whom Free People has sponsored on the WTA Tour.
For what feels like forever, the eccentric Frenchman played with Wilson racquets and with Asics gear. Those days are no more. Monfils has signed a new deal with Artengo, which is a tennis brand under Decathalon — a French sporting goods retailer and one of the biggest in the world.
The deal is for five years and will see Monfils play the late stages of his career with a new racquet and a new logo on his shirt.
Ugo Humbert has made a huge switch from Le Coq Sportif to Lacoste. The upscale brand has had an affinity for French tennis players through the years, but remains committed to signing world-class talent more generally, sponsoring both Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev.
The suave Chilean has made a fitting switch from Adidas to EA7 over the off-season. He certainly fits the look and playing style of the brand, which also has Nikoloz Basilashvili and Fabio Fognini signed.
EA7 is a collection of sportswear from Emporio Armani. They now have three top-40 players on the men’s side and world No. 32 Veronika Kudermetova on the women’s side.
Karatsev was the highest-ranked player in the sport going about his 2021 season without a sponsor. When the 2022 Australian Open is all said and done, the Russian will move to a career-high ranking of No. 15 in the world, which definitely seems to provide enough visibility to pick up an attractive deal.
The Russian is now playing in Hydrogen clothes after wearing a plain white t-shirt last year on tour, and he captured his first title in just his second event signed to the brand in Sydney this January.
Other Notable Tennis Endorsement Deals
- Hyrdogen has added previously-unsponsored Aslan Karatsev to their list of athletes, getting exposure to a top-20 player along the way. Marton Fucsovics has also signed with the brand, switching over from Hungarian brand Dorko, and with those two joining the fold the company has parted with Felciano Lopez and Adrian Mannarino.
- FILA may have lost Sofia Kenin, but it managed to ink exciting young Aussie Alexei Popyrin on the men’s side, who was previously signed to Nike.
- American Alison Riske, who was a longtime Lotto athlete has signed with K-Swiss, along with American Lauren Davis, who had been with Neptune.
- Speaking of Americans, Danielle Collins remains without a sponsor after her time with New Balance came to an end.
- Exciting young French singles star Hugo Gaston has left Asics to join Adidas.