Tennis Djokovic’s Sponsors Stick By Him Or Stay Silent—But He Could Lose Millions From Missing Grand Slams

Tennis Djokovic’s Sponsors Stick By Him Or Stay Silent—But He Could Lose Millions From Missing Grand Slams

Tennis

Tennis Topline

The sponsors that dished out $30 million in endorsements to Novak Djokovic last year (according to Forbes’ estimates) have largely remained quiet after the world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player was barred from the Australian Open, but Djokovic still stands to lose millions due to his Covid-19 vaccination status.

Not keeping their traps shut: French clothing company Lacoste is Novak Djokovic’s sole sponsor to … [+] cast doubt on their partnership with the star in view of his Covid-19 vaccination status.


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Tennis Key Facts

Raiffeisen Bank International said in a statement to Forbes that the Austria-based bank would continue to sponsor Djokovic: “This [sponsorship] decision by RBI was made long before the current reporting on Novak Djokovic and his Covid-19 vaccination status, or his participation in the Australian Open.”

Swiss watchmaker Hublot similarly stuck by Djokovic, telling the Associated Press Friday: “Novak Djokovic is his own person. We cannot comment on any of his personal decisions. Hublot will continue its partnership with the world number 1 tennis player.”

French clothing company Lacoste is Djokovic’s only sponsor to cast doubt on its partnership with the athlete, as a Lacoste spokesperson said Monday the company will contact Djokovic and “​​review the events that have accompanied his presence in Australia,” according to CNN.

Djokovic’s other sponsors—Asics, Head, Lemero, NetJets, Peugeot and Ultimate Software Group—did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment or comment publicly on the matter as of Tuesday.

Tennis Key Background

On Saturday, an Australian federal court upheld the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa needed to enter the country for the Australian Open, concluding a two-week standoff between him and the Australian government over the validity of his medical exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine. Djokovic will face further headaches for the three remaining Grand Slam tournaments if he remains unvaccinated. France’s sport ministry said Monday that athletes will not be exempt from the country’s strict vaccine requirements, putting Djokovic in jeopardy of missing the French Open in May. Organizers for the Championships at Wimbledon beginning in June would not guarantee Djokovic’s participation, though England permits unvaccinated visitors with a negative test and quarantine, while Djokovic will encounter the U.S.’ vaccine mandate for all travelers, which offers limited exemptions, ahead of the U.S. Open in August.

Tennis Big Number

$8.18 million. That’s about how much in prize money Djokovic would miss out on should he be unable to compete in all four Grand Slam tournaments in 2022. The singles winners of the 2022 Australian Open will take home $2.06 million, while the 2021 French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open winners earned $1.69 million, $1.93 million and $2.5 million, respectively. Djokovic earned $34.5 million last year, making him the 46th-highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes.

Tennis Tangent

Djokovic is not the only prominent athlete to voice skepticism of the vaccine, as a Forbes analysis in December found that 13 of the 50 athletes on Forbes’ “Highest-Paid Athletes” list, including Djokovic, did not publicly indicate they were vaccinated against Covid-19. There are limited instances of vaccination status affecting sponsorships, but Wisconsin healthcare provider Prevea Health dropped National Football League star Aaron Rodgers last fall after Rodgers spread misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

Tennis Further Reading

French Open In Doubt For Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic As France Passes Strict Covid-Fighting Law (Forbes)

13 Of The 50 Highest-Paid Athletes Wouldn’t Say If They Were Vaccinated In 2021 (Forbes)

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