Goodness gracious, it actually happened. Roger Federer left Nike for Uniqlo.

For all the exciting tennis on day 1 in London, there’s no denying Federer’s decision to swap the swoosh, for the… uh, red rectangle was the biggest story.

Even if we knew as much three weeks ago, it’s still no less jarring. In a sport where brand-swaps are commonplace, Federer (with all due respect to Rafa Nadal) has always led the line for Nike, to the point where his apparel has become an ever-evolving, yet constant uniform. Now he’s just another rider on the sponsor-carousel.

In time we’ll surely get used to it, but for now, it just feels odd. A sporting icon no longer sporting his iconic look? What’s next, LeBron James in a Lakers jersey?

Here’s your three to see on day 2 at Wimbledon:

Claire Liu (USA) v Ana Konjuh (CRO) – First on Court 11

Not exactly the most star-studded of matches, nevertheless this outer-court matchup features two young women who could one day be starring on centre. Despite enduring an injury-plagued year so far, 20-year-old Konjuh remains one of the hotter prospects on tour, and here she’ll square off against former junior no. 1, 2017 Wimbledon girls’ singles champion, and the Next Great American Hope™, Claire Liu. Even if 2018 might be premature for either of these women to make a run, it will be fun to see how Konjuh’s sheer baseline power matches up against Liu’s ability to come forward, and that along with the scouting opportunity makes this a particularly intriguing match.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [17] v Denis Istomin (UZB) – Second on Court 12

Never much of a man for adhering to other’s expectations, Wimbledon 2018 might mark the first time Nick Kyrgios will actually want to go with the grain, as he’s been widely tipped as an outside-candidate for the title. First up he’ll have to take care of the similarly unreliable, but ever-dangerous Denis Istomin, whose only career title came on grass at Nottingham in 2015. Able to hit through the court if given the opportunity, Istomin has the sort of game that could frustrate the easily-frustrated Kyrgios, and that makes this an ideal early test of the Australian’s title candidacy.

Marco Cecchinato (ITA) [29] v Alex De Minaur (AUS) – Third on Court 17

The feel-good story of Roland Garros, Marco Cecchinato now enters his first major tournament with the unfamiliar weight of expectation of his shoulders. No, he’s not expected to repeat his semifinal performance, but it’d be reasonable to suggest he at least live up to his seeding, yet against the tenacious Alex De Minaur, that will be a particularly tall task. The question is whether Cecchinato’s game can make the shift from clay to grass, and De Minaur is the exact sort of player who can punish a player who gets a little too comfortable behind the baseline. All in all a good test for the Italian, with the prospect of some fun rallies to boot.


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