Roger Federer and Adam Scott could be forgiven for dwindling energy by the end of the day — 8 p.m. midweek in Miami, after Miami Open prep for Federer and Uniqlo production meetings for both of them.
But these are professionals — slowing energy isn’t part of their makeup.
“I mean, we always have extra energy,” Federer says with a grin, sitting down opposite Scott in the private residence at the Four Seasons Surfside where the Uniqlo team has set up shop for the day.
The two are dressed in classic Uniqlo styles: white denim and a dove gray linen shirt for Federer, black cotton button down and navy trousers on Scott.
Federer, who at 37 has the most Grand Slam titles of any male tennis player in history and is currently ranked fifth worldwide, is in town for the Miami Open, where he would go on to defeat John Isner to take home his 101st professional title with a straight sets victory on Sunday. Scott, the 38-year-old Australian golfer who won the 2013 Masters, is gearing up for competition and is in Miami to meet with the Uniqlo team, who he has worked with for the last six years.
During their respective production meetings, Federer checked in on his French Open outfit as well as his looks for the U.S. Open, while Scott did work on what he’ll wear for the U.S. Masters Tournament.
“Just have to stay in shape for those months ahead,” Scott says with a laugh.
“What you don’t want to have happen is that you have the nicest shirt but you’re playing the worst,” Federer jokes back to him. “So you want to pick those nicest outfits for those moments when you think you’re going to peak as well. Because you can’t peak everywhere — unfortunately.”
While Scott has been signed with Uniqlo for six years, Federer is new to the family. He made headlines when he departed Nike nine months ago after some two decades for a reported $300 million, 10-year deal with the Japanese retailer, which will see him into retirement from the sport and is intended to make him a lifestyle brand past his playing years. The scale of the deal represented a major push into the sports world for Uniqlo, which previously worked with Federer’s rival, Novak Djokovic.
For each, a selection of their replica wear is carried in stores for shoppers to buy. Federer is still in the early days of his deal with the brand, which means his product has yet to hit store floors. “Which is quite exciting actually because we are running behind. We have more room to play with, because it could not sell anyway,” he says.
His product with Uniqlo takes inspiration from the Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori, another Uniqlo face.
“They obviously have the materials that Kei Nishikori has used as well. I know we jump into the past but they want to do extra special things for me as well, to make sure I have the right product. And sometimes what works for them doesn’t work for me,” Federer says. “So I’m just also going through a lot of testing in terms of materials and then in terms of designs. We’re just talking to see where do we wear what and what could we do, what fun things could we do outside the box.”
Both athletes are heavily involved in each look they wear and compete in, from the function to the taste level and design.
“In Switzerland. In Australia. In New York. In Wimbledon. We meet in all these places around the world and they fly from Tokyo, and it’s quite extensive,” Federer says of the process.
“Yeah, it’s been interesting developing some product within another clothes designer, balancing the function of playing a sport and also wearing clothes that they’re going to sell as under their Lifewear banner, that are not just a pair of golf pants,” Scott adds. “We can’t just develop a pair of golf pants. This is for everybody to wear. Trying to break the barrier of people calling it ‘golf clothes’ has been the fun part for me. And I’ve always had this thing, this feel-good, play-good thing. And I take pride in what I walk out on the golf course to compete in.”
Despite easily being among the most well-versed about fashion design of their peers, the two are each appealingly straightforward when asked to describe their own sense of style.
“On court? I hope it’s the best, you know?” Federer says, smiling.
“To be quite honest, I just feel like we have some awful tennis-looking outfits sometimes,” he continues. “They’ve just gone too far in the wrong direction. They want to make it look too much like a modern tennis shirt that is completely wrong, in terms of designs. Like a truck drove over it — or they’re just going to come up with funky graphics, which I think in a sport of tennis, that has such a rich history…you know, the tennis polo is very iconic. I feel like if we work on that, to redesign that, which looks nice and crisp and new and fresh, that’s really important to me. I’ve really just tried to elevate the style, the level of that in tennis and hope that resonates also with the new generation coming through.”
“It’s kind of a subtle elegance, I’d say,” Scott says of his competition style. “But I don’t box myself in to a certain style or polo trim necessarily. I think the biggest compliment that one of the other players on the other team paid to me was, ‘How can you wear khakis and a white polo shirt and look so good?’
“There’s some fun to be had, like this year at the Masters,” Scott continues. “Wearing the Uniqlo U is going to be a bit of a throwback to what was happening in golf many years ago, so that’s fun for me, too.”
“I love working on details as well,” Federer says. “Because how many times can you rework a polo or T-shirt? So I think sometimes you’ve got to be really creative with the details. There you can have a lot of impact, so I really try my most there to try to inspire.”
Both admit an interest in continuing to elevate the style game of their respective sports, which have seen their fair share of bad fashion throughout the years but, according to Federer and Scott, have been shaping up in recent years.
“I feel like tennis is doing so well. We have so many great highlights; you can really showcase a lot of different styles and we’re really playing the best and coolest places around the world,” Federer says. “So it really lends itself to use New York as a style fashion capital of the world to some extent, to dress differently in America than maybe we dress in Rome or in Paris or in London and so forth. So I think tennis is doing great in terms of style. I think a lot of players could do better, but maybe it’s also their approach to be really loud and going with neon. I also think that’s a thing. You go neon, you do all crazy colors until you come back to basics, you know? I think it’s nice to see everybody trying out different feels and styles.”
“Certainly in golf, the younger guys are certainly more confident, maybe express themselves in good ways and bad ways with their fashion,” Scott says.
“No regrets? No regrets?” Federer teases him.
“Look, I don’t want to start digging up pictures of myself,” Scott says.
“Long hair, I had it all also,” Federer laughs.
Though he doesn’t mention Nike by name, the move to Uniqlo has allowed Federer to elevate his off-court, on-duty style as well.
“I really hope to go to do press conferences like this now,” he says, motioning to his fitted jeans and rolled up sleeves, “because I don’t have to wear tracksuits anymore. I don’t have to wear all these things.
“It’s nice to finally look good sometimes, you know?”
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