U.S.Tennis Open Brings Brand Band Back Together

The U.S. Open, which began Aug. 27, will be notable for many things.

Perhaps most important,  the most prolific — and highest-paid — tennis players over the past decade will be reunited.

Saying that Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Serena Williams will all be playing together in a Grand Slam event used to be a given.

Not so much in recent years, with all experiencing injuries and/or cutting back on playing time for personal reasons.

Murray, for example, has not played in a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in July 2017.

After winning the Australian Open in January 2017, Serena took most of last year off to have a baby and get married before returning to the circuit this year.

Serena has 23 Grand Slam titles (two at the U.S. Open), Federer 20 (five U.S. Open titles), Nadal 17 (three at the U.S. Open), Djokovic 13 (two at the U.S. Open), Murray three (one U.S. Open title).

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have shown this year they are back in form, winning Grand Slam events (Federer the Australian Open, Nadal the French Open, Djokovic at Wimbledon).



Nadal comes into the U.S. Open seeded No. 1 overall, Federer No. 2, Djokovic No. 6. Murray was able to use his “protected ranking” to become part of the U.S. Open field.

Williams is seeded No. 17 on the women’s side.

Federer is the highest-paid tennis player in the world, taking in more than $12 million in winnings and some $65 million in endorsements over the past year, according to industry analysts.

He debuted his alliance with Uniqlo at the Wimbledon Grand Slam, which came with virtually no marketing support.

Federer and Uniqlo have ramped up marketing for the U.S. Open, including personal appearances, print and a special all-red outfit adorned with brand logos that he will wear during the tournament.

His deals also include Barilla, Credit Suisse Group, Jura, Lindt, Mercedes-Benz, Moet & Chandon, NetJets, Rolex and Wilson.

Nadal earned about $41 million over the past year, $27 million of that from endorsements including Babolat, Banco Sabadell, Kia Motors, Nike and Telefonica,.

Djokovic’s on-court winnings dropped over the past year due to injury-related inactivity, but he has upped his game the past few months — including winning the Cincinnati Masters title against Federer earlier this month — and takes in about $22 million in endorsements from such companies as ANZ, Asics, Head, Lacoste and Seiko.

Murray comes in with marketing partners including Under Armour, Jaguar, NHS and Head.

Serena Williams, even with her on-court hiatus, continued to add endorsements to her already formidable roster, which brings in about $20 million annually (not including investments in her own clothing line and other companies).

In February, she signed a deal with Lincoln to appear in multimedia marketing for the automaker.

In May, she signed an exclusive deal with trading card and memorabilia company Upper Deck.

Although such young tennis stars as Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza — and even older sister Venus — each have a roster of endorsement deals, and despite missing almost a year of tennis, Serena was so far ahead of the pack that she still earns the most among all female athletes in the world.

She also has deals that include Nike, IBM, Intel, Gatorade, JPMorgan Chase, Beats by Dre, Tempur Sealy, Burlei and Audemars Piuget; equity in Mission and Home Shopping Network, a seat among SurveyMonkey’s board of directors and a minority investment in the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

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