Top tennis championships such as the ongoing US Open (August 31 – September 13) are not just eagerly awaited global sporting events but also lucrative platforms for luxury brands.
Brands such as Rolex, Mercedes and Ralph Lauren spend big marketing money to be the tournament’s lead sponsors.
A number of watch brands team up with top tennis stars to show off their best creations and benefit from the players’ popularity and reach.
Swiss watch brand Rolex has had a long association with tennis, and since 2018, serves as the Official Timekeeper and the Official Timepiece of the US Open. Rolex clocks are displayed throughout the grounds of the U.S. Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The popularity of the sport and the championships ensure that the sponsored brands get great visibility.
Here’s a list of the top tennis stars and their favoured watch brands.
Rafael Nadal, Richard Mille
Last year, Nadal won the US Open Tennis Championship while wearing a $725,000 watch – Richard Mille RM27-03. Nadal has been associated with the watch brand since 2008 and until last year, was one of the few players to wear the watch on the tennis court as well.
In 2010, Richard Mille created a watch specifically for the tennis champ, and Nadal helped design it. The Richard Mille RM27-03 manual winding tourbillon watch is shock resistant up to 10,000 Gs. The striking red and yellow colour Quartz TPT case and the upper skeletonized bridge, which looks like a bull, pays homage to Spain, the legend’s homeland. The watch is a 50-piece limited edition, which has a power reserve of 70 hours. It weighs just 20 grams.
Serena Williams, Audemars Piguet
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Audemars Piguet enlisted Serena Williams as their brand ambassador in 2014 and she has been with them ever since. The winner of 23 Grand Slam titles has been seen wearing a number of Audemars Piguet watches over the years. Recently, she has been wearing a Royal Oak Offshore in 18-karat rose gold with diamonds and the brand’s Tapisserie dial motif, which costs $30,000. Williams wore the watch during her last game on September 5 during the ongoing US Open in which she beat Sloane Stephens.
For the Met Gala in 2017, she sported The Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage, which boasts of 65-carats of diamonds and a hidden watch. For the 2019 edition as well, she sported a diamond-studded AP watch.
Roger Federer, Rolex
Currently, the world’s highest paid athlete, Roger Federer has a long-standing association with Swiss Watch brand Rolex since 2011 and reportedly earns $15 million a year to endorse the brand.
Every time he picks up a trophy, you will see his Rolex watch, which is picked for the occasion. He has been spotted wearing the Rolex Sky-Dweller, Datejust 41 mm, GMT-Master II, Day-Date 40 mm and the Yacht-Master II.
Rolex has a long roster of brand ambassadors in the field of tennis including Milos Raonic, Jo-Willfried Tsonga, Grigor Dimitrov, Caroline Wozniacki, Angela Kerber and others.
Novak Djokovic, Seiko
The number one tennis player according to the Association of Tennis Professionals’ and one of the greatest players in tennis history with 16 Grand Slam victories, Djokovic has been a brand ambassador of Seiko watches since 2014. Earlier this year, Seiko unveiled a new Astron GPS Solar watch, which is equipped with Seiko’s GPS solar technology. Its design incorporates the flag colours of Japan (Seiko’s headquarters) and Serbia (Djokovic’s homeland) to showcase their partnership.
Simona Halep, Hublot
Romanian tennis player Simona Halep was ranked the world’s number 1 in Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) ranking in 2017 and 2018. Currently, in second position in the WTA rankings, she has been part of the Hublot family since 2016. She has been spotted wearing a $19,900 Big Bang One Click Italia Independent Dark Blue Velvet watch and an $18,800 Big Bang Sang Bleu Titanium watch.
Tennis players Borna Ćorić, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina are also brand ambassadors for Hublot.