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Federer wants to win a new game

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It’s not often that any tennis player can manage to upstage Serena Williams when it comes to fashion, but at Wimbledon Roger Federer did just that, provoking the kind of social media meltdown that is usually reserved for a cat suit on the court. The reverberations of his decision to trade his Nike swoosh for a Uniqlo red square reached all the way to the gilded rooms of the Paris couture. Ever since, much has been written about the money involved ($300 million); the length of the contract (10 years); and the other potential reasons for the change after more than two decades.

But as the grass has settled on center court, I have not been able to stop wondering about the real impact of this decision on the sports/fashion nexus — a synergistic relationship fast approaching the status and revenues of the Hollywood/fashion nexus.

Because in choosing Uniqlo, Federer is effectively creating a new paradigm for a post-technical sports brand adventure. Could he become the Jessica Simpson of men’s wear? Simpson is the most successful celebrity-with-an-accessible-fashion-line. It’s not a bad model to........

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