|Djokovic at the Italian Open. Credit: Credit: Internazionali BNL d’Italia|
“It has been mutually and amicably decided that, as of the 2012 Roland Garros Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic will no longer be the brand ambassador,” the Novara, northern Italy-based manufacturer said in an e-mailed statement today, quoted by Business Week.
Nole signed with Tacchini in November 2009, when ranked third. The brand had already sponsored great tennis champions like Pete Sampras and Martina Hingis.
In its statement, Sergio Tacchini International recognized that Djokovic "outgrown the Italian brand" and "has grown professionally, climbing from third to first place in the world ATP ranking". "Although losing such a precious spokesperson, Tacchini is offering Djokovic the opportunity to take on new challenges and new sponsors", added Tacchini.
According to CNBC sources, Tacchini was able to sign Djokovic by offering him a smaller guarantee than the larger companies would pay, but promised bigger should he do well. When Djokovic kept winning, the company fell behind on payments to the tennis star. The italian brand, says CNBC, wasn't able to produce interesting outfits for the biggest tennis gear market, the United States, and, in fact, failed to deliver Djokovic's Grand Slam apparel to US retailers.
Serbian media is saying that Djokovic will sign with Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, who already sponsors Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori. But Nike and Adidas could also be in the run.
The Serbian player or his staff haven't made any comment on Sergio Tacchini's statement.