Coach Patrick Mouratoglou has come to the defence of Novak Djokovic after a former tennis director at Nike said “there is always a dark cloud” around the Serb. Mika Nakajima, who was the former tennis director at Nike for 29 years, was asked by CNN to explain why Djokovic and Rafael Nadal never reached the marketing heights of Roger Federer.
In his answer, Nakajima said that Nadal probably never wanted to become a marketing giant, while with Djokovic there is always something going on that is negatively impacting his brand. “To answer Nakashima (meant Nakajima) about Nike and Novak: Whether we agree or not, like or dislike Novak, I personally prefer a real human being with his qualities, his beliefs and his flows than a perfect untrue image of perfection.
Sanctifying perfection is denying our condition as humans,” Mouratoglou wrote on Twitter.
To answer Nakashima about Nike and Novak: Whether we agree or not, like or dislike Novak, I personally prefer a real human being with his qualities, his beliefs and his flows than a perfect untrue image of perfection.
Sanctifying perfection is denying our condition as humans. — Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) February 16, 2023
Mouratogou comes to Djokovic’s defence
Per Forbes, Federer earned $90 million from sponsorship and endorsement deals last year.
On the other side, Djokovic netted around $20 million from his deals. “He could well be the most successful tennis player ever. But there’s always a dark cloud around him. It’s like he brings it upon himself.
He hits the lineswoman at the US Open (in 2020) and gets disqualified? It happens, I guess. But why does it always happen to Novak? Or the whole controversy about the Covid-19 vaccination. Now, as a brand: do I want to be behind somebody who always has controversy around him? Or do I want to go with an athlete with a squeaky clean image?” Nakajima told CNN.
Even retired from pro tennis, Federer is still making huge money off his sponsorship and endorsement deals. In 2018, Federer signed a 10-year deal with Uniqlo, which is reportedly paying him $30 million per year. In late 2022, Federer visited Japan to take part in a Uniqlo event.