What’s Smoother Than a Federer Backhand? His $300 Million Uniqlo Deal


Thorough a spokeswoman, Nike executives declined to discuss their decision. “We do not comment on athlete contracts,” the company said in a statement.

‘Get This Deal Done’

It was 2005, just before that year’s U.S. Open, and Mr. Godsick, then an agent at IMG, got a call from Monica Seles. Ms. Seles, a former No. 1 player, had been one of his first clients after he joined the agency in 1993, the week after graduating from Dartmouth.

“You’re about to get a new client,” she said.

“Who?” Mr. Godsick asked.

“Roger Federer,” she replied.

Mr. Godsick was intrigued. Mr. Federer had been at IMG earlier in his career, well before he had begun winning Slams on a regular basis, but had gone off on his own, running his business with a team composed of his father and mother, Robert and Lynette, and his wife, Mirka. IMG, then owned by Theodore J. Forstmann, was eager to bring Mr. Federer back into the company fold.

Five minutes later, the phone rang again. It was Mr. Forstmann. “Godsick,” his boss barked. “I’m about to make your career. Get down to my office.” At that meeting, Mr. Fortsmann was blunt: “Get this deal done.”

Two weeks later, right after Mr. Federer had beaten Andre Agassi in the final (6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1), Mr. Godsick was waiting in the small referees’ room in Arthur Ashe Stadium when Mr. Federer entered, still clutching his trophy.

The brief meeting with Roger and Mirka — then and now a key figure in her husband’s management — went well, and the three agreed to continue their discussion the next day, Monday, at the Federers’ hotel. That, too, went well, until Mr. Federer said he and Mirka would be flying back to their home in Switzerland shortly and would complete the deal on Thursday.

“No, no,” Mr. Godsick told them. “You can’t leave the U.S. without signing this representation agreement. Otherwise, I am not going to have a job on Thursday.”


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