Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Nole worked Nike at Wimbledon and adidas gave their blessing

Thursday, June 26, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Nole worked Nike at Wimbledon and adidas gave their blessing

Thanks to DtL! reader Lori for tipping me off to this exciting development between Novak Djokovic and his clothing sponsor adidas. As many of you know, I've been hyper-critical of the global sports brand for its lackadaisical sponsorship/PR for top ballers and poor design vision especially the eye-sore affectionately known as Ana's "ladyfinger" dress. But the drama continues...

Apparently, Nole had been working Nike Cages (below) with the logos whited out during his short stay at The All England Club. The Serb complained to the company after he continually slipped in his Barricades during the Queen's Club final, but adidas couldn't make grass-court shoes in time so they agreed to allow him to wear the Nike sneakers for Wimbledon. WTF?!

Darren Rovell of picked up on the developing story and questioned the decision by both parties. adidas responded to his inquiries saying,

Adidas is committed to providing the best possible sportswear products to inspire and enable all athletes to achieve their Impossible. However, in the tradition of our founder Adi Dassler, we do not oblige athletes to wear a product in competition they do not feel are 100 percent suitable to their style of play. Therefore we have reviewed the request of Novak Djokovic to use another brand of shoes at Wimbledon and have agreed he can wear a product he feels is more suited to his current grass court needs.
Nole also released a statement about the controversy saying,
Over the past 5 years adidas’ commitment to my career has been unbeatable. Adidas Tennis has actively sought my feedback on new products and technologies and I am excited to work on a new products for the 2009 season. In the meantime, I am grateful for adidas’ unrelenting support as I aim to achieve my Impossible at Wimbledon this week.
This well-crafted PR piece seems pretty empty to me.

And to rub salt in the wound, Andy Murray, who usually wears Brit label Fred Perry paired with adidas trainers, confirmed that he switched to Nike as seen below during his first round match:

Great for Nike but where does this leave adidas in tennis? Clearly Nole hasn't switched over to Nike completely but it could be just a matter of time. If the brand can't move quickly to accommodate the product needs of their premiere athletes at the highest-profile tournaments, who would blame them for jumping ship? And, why would the sports label spend all this money to sponsor an athlete and then instead of providing them the proper products in a timely manner, concede to allowing them to wear a competing brand??

Clearly, adidas was caught with their Court Shorts down and not prepared with appropriate product or to deal with this type of issue. What was I saying about lack of vision?

Impossible seems like something for adidas right now.

(images via Getty,


  1. CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT: Nike gave him defective shoes which made him lose so Nike's King Federer would have a better chance. LOL!


  2. Is weird that only Novak has complain about the shoes... do you know if other players complain about them too???
    I hope he is not using it as an excuse for not winning on grass...

    Nice of Adidas to let him use other brand knowing that can affect Adidas image...

    Thanks for the article...

  3. LOL Lisa, nice one!

    Jess: well Andy Murray so far has changed out...lets keep an eye out

  4. So then what's Ana wearing if Adidas doesn't make grass shoes? They're not Barricades.

  5. I just zoomed in on a pic of Ana from yesterday's match and she seems to be wearing the Barricade II because they have the four indents on the side of the shoe before the triple adidas lines which the II's have on them

    I couldn't tell if they had the grass-court nubbies on the bottom of the sole. I'm seeing if there's a better pic of the underside of the shoe.

  6. any info on why ana made the outfit switch after the first match? more than 6 months in the same dress then she wears the new one for only one day?

  7. because she came to her style senses hopefully...we'll see tomorrow

  8. i guess i have seen andy murray wear adidas when playing against tommy haas on saturday


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