Her wrist had been bare since the start of the year. If tennis fans had not necessarily noted it, it had not left watchmakers indifferent. This marketing anomaly has now been corrected, since Hublot replaces the Japanese Seiko on Novak Djokovic’s forearm.
On the occasion of the US Open, which begins this Monday in New York, the Nyon-based watch brand announced on Monday a partnership with the world number one. As is often the case in the sponsorship world, the amount of the contract was not disclosed. But by allying with Djokovic, Hublot strikes a big blow. She binds with the one who, if he wins at Flushing Meadows, could do a double blow: being the first to achieve a Grand Slam – winning all four majors in the same season – since the Australian Rod Laver, in 1969 .
But Novak Djokovic is also seven matches away from becoming the tennis player who won the most of these tournaments (Australian Open, Wimbledon, Roland-Garros, US Open) with 21 titles on the clock. He would thus precede the two big absentees of the New York fortnight that are the Spaniard Rafael Nadal – associated with Richard Mille – but also a certain Roger Federer, under contract with Rolex.
It’s true, he sometimes has strong opinions, he can be more divisive than others. But it has really changed in a positive way in recent years
Until now, Hublot, owned by the French group LVMH, was best known for being hyperactive in football, since it has signed partnerships with Pelé, Maradona, Kylian Mbappé, FIFA, UEFA and even the English Premier League. She is also associated with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. But this is not for all that his first foray into the world of tennis. Simona Halep (13th in the WTA rankings), Karolina Pliskova (4th) or Borna Coric (35th at ATP) are already among its ambassadors.
“We were not the only ones”
The first discussions between Hublot and Djokovic go back to 2014, before the Serbian signed with Seiko, notes the boss of the Nyon manufacture, Ricardo Guadalupe. “We got in touch again this year, before Wimbledon. It was he himself who expressed his interest in our brand. It’s always flattering when the commercial aspect is not the only criterion that comes into play. Because you can imagine that we were not the only ones to have noted that his previous partnership had ended ”.
After the Tokyo Games, where Novak Djokovic lost in the semi-final, Hublot made a concrete offer. “And of course, adds Ricardo Guadalupe, we accelerated things to be able to make this announcement at the start of the US Open.”
The sometimes arrogant image, or in any case less smooth than others, that Novak Djokovic emits is not a problem. “It’s true, he sometimes has strong opinions, he can be more divisive than others. But it has really changed in a positive way in recent years. ” From a sporting point of view, “his record pleads in his favor. You can’t achieve this kind of results without hard work and discipline, ”says Ricardo Guadalupe.
His track record may also not grow in New York. “That’s what makes the beauty of sport,” replies the general manager. If he doesn’t win, that’s okay. He is 34 years old and still has some time ahead of him to win a 21st Grand Slam tournament. ” The contract that Hublot has just signed is valid for five years. But Ricardo Guadalupe does not hide that like Usain Bolt or Pelé, he would like to be able to count on what Novak Djokovic will represent for his sport, even when he will no longer play at the highest level.