Hennes & Mauritz AB on Wednesday confirmed it is parting ways with Tomáš Berdych, who has been representing the Swedish fast-fashion giant on the tennis circuit for the last three years, after the Czech player revealed on Twitter he was defecting to Adidas.
“New year new gear. Looking forward to a partnership with one of the greatest sports companies of all time — Adidas,” Berdych wrote beneath a photograph showing him on court in a red Adidas polo shirt.
H&M signed the current sixth-ranked player in the world as brand ambassador in January 2013, marking the first time H&M clothing was worn on court by a top-ranking tennis player. This followed rival Uniqlo’s announcement of a five-year deal with Novak Djokovic in May 2012.
The collaboration ushered in a small revolution in the game, as Berdych regularly appeared on court in tops with unconventional prints, including a colorful mix of ombré and neon lighting effects.
Elnaz Barari, a spokeswoman for H&M, confirmed reports that it would not renew the sponsorship deal.
“We have been very happy with the partnership, Tomas is a fantastic sports personality and has been a great partner to H&M both on and off court, but we will now choose to concentrate on our whole H&M Sport offerings,” she said.
The retailer has been battling to capture a growing slice of the thriving ath-leisure business with its expanded H&M Sport line, launched two years ago. It plans to open a dedicated H&M Sport pop-up store in London on Thursday.
H&M is maintaining its sponsorship of Swedish horse riders Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson, as well as Belgian riders Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts. It will also be dressing the Swedish Olympic Team during the Summer Olympic Games in Rio this year, Barari said.
Officials at Adidas were not immediately available for comment. The company’s offices in southern Germany were closed on Wednesday for the Epiphany public holiday.