USO Men’s Final: Battle of the (retail) unknowns
For some time now, tennis fans have been comfortable in knowing that one of the big names in men's tennis would be in the final of a slam, such as today's event in Flushing Meadow. Usually, a brand such as Nike or Adidas has a prominent place in the Men's Final.
But not today.
Not only are the names of the players relatively unknown – Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori combined have won a total of zero Slams – the clothing companies they represent are (in comparison to Nike, adidas, etc.) low profile as well – in tennis. This is likely the first time two Asia based companies will play a Slam final.
Japanese line Uniqlo made their first entry into the tennis marketplace when they signed both Nishikori and Djokovic back in 2012. And Uniqlo is opening stores in the US like crazy, like a third Bay Area store in Walnut Creek, CA- just outside San Francisco. Didn't even know this was here!
But they are having big problems in the US with sizing (tell me about it; in their San Francisco store, there weren't more than a handful of XLs in the entire store. All S, M, and L. In the US.) And forget about finding any tennis gear at retail – both stores near me had none. San Francisco isn't exactly in the retail outback- but if you want a shirt like the top mens player in the world—sorry, no luck. I ended up going to the conveniently located adidas store nearby.
On the other side of the net, if you want the Chinese brand Li-Ning, Tennis Warehouse seems to be your only bet. The Li-Ning website makes no reference of Cilic, preferring to focus solely on NBA star Dwayne Wade. Their USA Facebook page hasn't been updated in months. An online search turned up a reference to a sole retail store in Portland…but do a bit more digging (which you shouldn't have to do to buy a shirt) and you find the store closed two years ago. So don't plan a visit – no one home.