We will analyze what experts and past performers say about the recipe for success that can lead one to join the extended list of the wealthiest and most successful tennis players.
Roger Federer’s name and brand have become synonumous with his millions of fans around the world. Compared to the likes of Lebron James and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of popularity and brand appeal, there isn’t a stadium around the world and Federer can not fill.
Demanding upwards of 2 million dollars for appearance fees into ATP Tour events, Federer’s return on investment for the tournaments that he enters has been proven to be 10-fold.
As a result of these numbers and a slew of lucrative endorsements in his portfolio, Federer has become the richest player ever to play the game, amassing close to 1 billion in earnings.
Time After Retirement
With father time not waiting for no player, Federer knows that his time on court for is coming to an end. While numerous knee surgeries have limited his participation in the last two to three years, the Swiss-born great is hopeful that he will be able to have one more lap around the sun before he hangs up his racquet.
From his days of wearing Nike head-to-toe, to now being a part owner of the Swiss athletic coming On, Federer has collaborated with some of the most exclusive, and sought after brands in the world.
To name a few, Federer’s impressive resume of endorsements throughout the years have included: Rolex, Uniqlo, Credit Suisse, Lindt, Sunrise, Jura Elektroapparate, Wilson, Mercedes-Benz, Gillette, Barilla, Rimowa and Moët & Chandon.
Federer’s partnership with the Swiss athletic brand is of particular interest. In a shoe market dominated by Nike, Adidas, ASICS and New Balance, On has brought forth a fresh take on functional, yet trendy footwear.
Having great style and regularly up-to-date with the trends of the fashion world, Federer’s input with On has been nothing short of hands-on.
Federer had this to say to Forbes.com about his decision to join On and become an investor: “They are smart, really nice people with a passion for what they do.” Plus, he adds over email, “They are amazingly nimble—they adapted so quickly to the pandemic and the requirement to shift to e-commerce.” It sounds like a harmonious relationship. Says Federer, “We work very closely together on product design. They really listen and they want to get as close to perfect as possible.”
The hard work with On has already paid off for the Swiss great, with the debut of his first-ever on-court performance shoe with the brand, which was launched at Wimbledon in 2021. The Roger Pro, which took two years to develop, has brought a new take to the current line-up of footwear on the market.
Thinking “Laterally” was key in the R&D of The Roger Pro.
“Tennis players put up to three times their body weight through a shoe during lateral movements”, Olivier Bernhard, former Swiss Ironman champion and now one of key partners in On explains. “These high forces demand extreme agility and stability. That’s what we worked on with Roger to create our first tennis shoe.”
Big Deal from Uniqlo
Federer’s Uniqlo deal alone is reportedly worth almost $300 million according to ESPN and it will continue to be valid apparently through his retirement.
The affordable Japanese brand knew they had a chance to lock Federer into a long-term deal when his negotiations with Nike were going South, and they ended up delivering in a major way.
Life after Tennis
Becoming an established entrepreneur and philanthropist, Federer’s life after tennis looks to be in great hands. That said, he will be taking the court shortly to have a light hit with his wife and former player Mirka Federer to test his knee and its progress.
It appears that for the moment, Federer will withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon, and look to (hopefully) make his return to the Tour during the American hard-court swing, which will culminate with the Laver Cup team competition in London, England.
If fit, he would at the very least partner up with 21-time Major winner Rafael Nadal in the O2 Arena.
When and if Federer’s return does take place, you can be sure that the 20-time Major winner will be donning his trademark RF cap.
A former Nike rep once mentioned that “Federer sells merchandise even when he doesn’t play. No other player can pull off that feat.”
Many fans around the world are counting down the days before they see their hero back on court. Federer has always expressed his gratitude to his fanbase and to their importance during his long career.
With or without an appearance on court in 2022, Federer will still likely make over 80 million in earnings.
There is no question, however, that having the 40-year-old on court and on Tour, only heightens the status of an event. Federer has always been a major drawcard to any event that he enters, and he will be sorely missed once he hangs up the racquet for good.
Attending a recent women’s World Cup ski race at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Federer did mention to a broadcaster that at the very earliest, the tennis world could expect him back in action by late summer 2022.
The AP also reported that in his conversation with SRF, that he was quite happy with his progress with rehabilitation, and could only recently begin thinking about a comeback to the sport he loves.
Playing his last match on Tour at Wimbledon 2021 before bowing out in three sets to towering Polish player Hubert Hurkacz, Federer dropped the final set by an astonishing score of 6-0.
Being the champion that Federer is, it is certainly unlikely that he will want to end his career in that fashion without providing his legion of fans with one more memorable moment before his fall-of-career ends.
Whether or not we ever see the Swiss maestro back on court, one thing is for sure: Roger Federer remains the most popular, elegant and wealthiest male player to date.