Novak Djokovic defeated Nick Kyrgios in four sets Sunday to capture his seventh Wimbledon title, one behind Roger Federer for the men’s record at the All England Club. The win also was his 21st major, breaking a tie with Federer and putting him one behind Rafael Nadal for the men’s all-time record.
The Wimbledon final featured the full Kyrgios experience, combining breathtaking tennis with outbursts directed at fans, his player’s box and the umpire—look for a “700 drinks, bro” shirt out soon. The Australian’s previous best finish at a Grand Slam was the quarterfinals (2015 Australian Open, 2014 Wimbledon). He entered this year’s Wimbledon ranked No. 40 in the world and will pocket a career-high $1.26 million for the win, raising his career prize money to $11.2 million.
Djokovic earns $2.4 million for the title and extends his record career total to $159 million, $28 million ahead of Nadal. Kyrgios had won each of their prior two meetings, both in 2017.
The win salvages a rocky 2022 for the Serbian tennis ace, who was deported from Australia in January ahead of the Australian Open when his medical exemption visa was cancelled. He’ll likely be prevented from competing at the U.S. Open unless he gets a COVID-19 vaccine or the U.S. changes its policy about unvaccinated non-citizens entering the country.
Sponsors have started backing away from Djokovic, despite his chance to go down as the greatest player in the history of the sport. UKG and Peugeot both ended valuable “patch” sponsorships this year, which garnered massive exposure for each brand during marquee matches, like Grand Slam finals. His Peugeot deal started in 2014, with UKG signing Djokovic in 2019.
“The sponsorship agreement was already planned to expire this year and we mutually agreed there would be no renewal,” a UKG spokesperson said in an email in May. Contrast that to Federer, who hasn’t played in over a year, yet maintains the arsenal of sponsors that make him the world’s highest-paid tennis player at $85.7 million, according to Sportico estimates. Djokovic ranked fifth at $28.2 million, including $20 million off the court.
Don’t expect sponsors to suddenly flock to Djokovic. Unless his vaccination status or U.S. policy changes, he won’t play in the U.S. any time soon, and his next chance for another major might not be until the 2023 French Open.
“Any Grand Slam momentum will be lost by not by playing again at a major until the French Open,” Bob Dorfman, a creative director at Pinnacle Advertising, said in an email.
Lacoste remains Djokovic’s most valuable endorsement partner in a pact worth as much as $10 million annually, including bonuses for a big year on the court. His other remaining sponsors are Head, Asics, Hublot and Raiffeisen Bank.