Published August 27, 2014
Roger Federer and Michael Jordan “are now business partners,” as Federer during his first-round U.S. Open match against Marinko Matosevic last night debuted the Air Jordan Hybrid R.F. shoe, according to ESPN’s Chris Fowler. Jordan, who attended his first tennis match last night, said of Federer, “He’s done a lot of input in it. One of my shoes was his favorite, which was the (Air Jordan III). I told Roger when they first came up with the idea, I said, ‘Look, as long as you have input, you control it. I know nothing about tennis and most importantly it has to be functional.’ … He took it to heart and he actually got involved in it. I was very surprised, the shoe looks very nice.” Jordan sat in Federer’s box, and ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez asked him, “You know that Roger, when he goes to hit his overhead, gets a little hang time, a la Michael Jordan. Is this shoe going to help him a little extra?” Jordan replied, “I don’t know about that, but he is a good athlete.” He added, “I’ve seen a lot of tennis on TV, but you never really understand how smooth, how relaxed and how fundamentally sound that he can make this game look. He looks good in the shoe without a doubt, but he makes the shoes look a lot better.” Federer following the match said, “Michael was my hero of all sports, so for having him here is unbelievably special and the collaboration is unique, so I love it” (“U.S. Open,” ESPN, 8/26). GQ’s Jake Woolf noted the latest colorway of Federer’s Tour Vapor 9 “features Nike’s iconic elephant print, which was first seen” on the Air Jordan III in ’88 (GQ.com, 8/25).
STAR STRUCK: In N.Y., Zach Schonbrun writes Federer’s opening-round opponent Marinko Matosevic at one point last night was “waving and pointing” at Jordan, and “might have momentarily forgotten that he was still in a match, still on center court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.” Matosevic, pointing toward Jordan during the match, yelled, “I want to be like Mike!” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/27).
WANNA BE LIKE ROGER? FORBES’ Kurt Badenhausen noted worldwide tennis sponsorship spending is expected to hit $739M in ’14, and “no player secures a bigger piece of the pie” than Federer. His “loaded endorsement portfolio includes 10 brands,” including Nike, Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, Gillette and Moet & Chandon. They “collectively pay him” more than $40M annually (FORBES.com, 8/25)