If you’re looking for the new Uniqlo Australian Open lines, good luck
At Tennis Identity, we’re always combing the internet for the latest tennis gear. We’ve got certain brands bookmarked, and always check to see if there’s something new. (Nike — we’re looking at you. Your corporate news site hasn’t changed since before Wimbledon of last year.)
And then there’s the matter of Uniqlo.
The Japan-based retailer is a monster in the retail space worldwide, but even after signing Novak Djokovic back in 2012, they still don’t know how to market tennis attire. Let’s look at the Australian Open line. If you can call it a line — more like a couple of dashes. There are two Uniqlo sites (that I know of) that show what they have for their two star players (along with Nishikori, of course.) First is Uniqlo UK.
All they have in stock is a rather uninspiring jacket and pants for each player: first Djokovic-
..and Nishikori. There is such a thing as style, but Uniqlo hasn’t done much in that area.
Let’s check the mothership, Uniqlo Japan. They offer a larger selection, but not by much.
If you go to the Uniqlo USA website and search “Djokovic” all you get is…underwear and a t-shirt or two. Nothing tennis specific. And as far as in-store availability goes, I’ve yet to see anything tennis-line specific in any of the local Uniqlo stores, including their massive store in San Francisco. Can you imagine a titan like Nike or adidas marketing their players like that? (At least Under Armour finally has a section up for Andy Murray, though his shoes are still MIA. And they still show the “2016 line,” with the first Slam of ’17 nearing. Memo to marketing: wake up.)
Rumor central: is Lacoste after Djokovic? (Which would be a great signing, I think.) Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim thinks so:
Uniqlo is certainly a mighty retailer, but for some reason they provide very little online and retail exposure for their two players. The USA must be a key market for them, otherwise they wouldn’t be opening so many new stores. It must just be that they use them as walking billboards for the brand itself, and they’re not concerned with moving any Djokovic or Nishikori merch online or at retail. Just show up with that red square on the shirt, preferably on a Sunday.
If that indeed is their mission statement, they are doing a good job.