As a prelude to the opening of Wimbledon Monday, Shiseido has named the Serbia-born tennis player Ana Ivanovic as the ambassador for its WetForce sun protection line, which is formulated to maintain its performance when exposed to water or perspiration. According to the firm, the sunscreen, which was launched in May, is designed to interact with the minerals in water and perspiration to create a more “uniform veil” of protection.
Ivanovic will appear in a campaign for WetForce, set to be shot in London next month. But the athlete has already been putting the sun protection through its paces during the current tennis season.
“It’s so hard sometimes to find adequate protection, because we are all aware how dangerous the sun can be, and many times we are on the court for longer than we plan to be,” said Ivanovic during a telephone interview. “[The Shiseido WetForce product] was really a revelation to me…[as] it gives you protection throughout but it’s very lightweight — you don’t feel like you have tons on your skin.”
The fact that the product is formulated not to run is also crucial to Ivanovic’s performance on court, she said. “I could sweat and run and I didn’t feel my sun cream running into my eyes or onto my racket,” she noted of using the product.
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Yoshiaki Okabe, general manager and international brand director for Shiseido’s global business division, said that the relationship between Ivanovic and Shiseido symbolizes “a mutual dedication to skill, tenacity, innovation, education and reaching for higher levels of performance at every opportunity.”
He also pointed to Ivanovic’s reputation for “overcoming the odds,” as she did after winning the French Open in 2008 and rising to the rank of number one in the world for women’s tennis. Ivanovic subsequently saw her ranking slump. But since 2014, she’s climbed back up the rankings, and last month she reached the semifinals of the French Open, and is today seeded as number seven in the world in women’s tennis.
And the player said that she’s looking forward to this year’s Wimbledon, given what she called the tournament’s “tradition.” “If you tell people you’re playing Wimbledon, even the people who do not understand tennis, they know exactly what Wimbledon is,” Ivanovic said. “And you can feel that as soon as you walk through the gates — it’s such a sophisticated event.”
Ivanovic noted that ahead of the event, she’s been tailoring her training to the grass courts that the tournament is played on. “It’s the toughest transition going from clay to grass, because we use different muscles than on clay — on clay you have lots of sliding and it’s much longer rallies. So on clay the endurance is very important and on grass it’s more power. So you have to adjust your training and make sure your core is very strong,” she said.
As to her on-court dress, Ivanovic, who’s an ambassador for Adidas — in a deal that spans her career and after her retirement — said the sports firm has designed her an “elegant” white dress for Wimbledon. During May’s French Open, Ivanovic stood out in a design by Adidas Y-3, which saw her compete in a black dress with subtle Hawaiian floral print details, an outfit Ivanovic described as channeling a “fighting spirit.”
But while Ivanovic said that she does at times have input into the designs, she values Adidas for “designing outfits that actually make me feel good on court,” she said, allowing her to concentrate on the game. “Because actually that’s what’s most important,” she said, referring to her performance. “As a woman you want to look good but also, you want to feel good, you want to be able to move and run around,” she said.
Ivanovic’s first campaign shots for Shiseido’s WetForce will appear in late August, and are set to break in time for the U.S. Open which will begin Aug. 31.
Added to the Shiseido partnership, Ivanovic has also this week launched a Web site she cofounded called trainers4me.com, which allows customers to book sports trainers and coaches in 40 countries. “I really feel fortunate that tennis has opened up these opportunities for me to do other things,” said Ivanovic. “I still consider myself as a tennis player, but it’s fun to do these things on the side, and try to share my experiences.”