Why the Visa debacle is No Djok for No-vax Djokovic and his sponsors

Believe it or not, many years back, I was a pretty handy tennis player.

It helps being rather tall!

I never had an ounce of the talent or frankly, the single minded determination to even become a coach (my dad is), let alone a pro.

Then you have someone like Novak. His talent is incredible but it is his self-belief and mental resilience that has got him onto a par with messrs Federer and Nadal.

However, he is emphatically NOT on a par with them in terms of the fan base, partly because they are still playing (just about) but also because he lacks their charm. 

I suspect that he doesn’t really care about this and neither really did his sponsors, until now…

Because whilst Novak is a winning machine and likely to eclipse Roger and Rafa (assuming he can get Visas to play other Grand Slams) he hasn’t built up the credit in the bank in terms of his likeability.

This applies to his on court AND off court antics and demeanor.

Now, not many people actively LIKE Cristriano Ronaldo either but he isn’t taking on the authorities of an entire sport and country.

Novak’s error, and/or the error of the entourage around him, is that he’s dug himself in, standing up for his beliefs but then he’s just kept digging and digging and appears to be asking for special treatment.

Note APPEARS, perception is nine 10ths of the PR law!

Whilst one has to admire his focus, which was never going to be in doubt, you can’t help but wonder about the team that looks after his marketing and PR.

Right now, his awareness levels are sky high but his stock is low in terms of what he wants to be known for. The old adage of “no such thing as bad PR” is again proven to be utter BS here because if you are his sponsors, you will be wondering about the potential fall-out from this.

Now there will be some for whom the NEW Novak notoriety will be welcome and more than worth a punt – the rebel brands and the disruptors seeking to make a mark.

However, the more traditional backers may be looking closely at their contracts now and over the coming weeks. 

Among his lucrative sponsorship deals are the luxury watchmaker Hublot, Lacoste, racquet giant Head and deals with Asics, Peugeot and many, many, more.

Speaking of French brands, next up for Novak in his quest to eclipse Roger and Rafa is the French Open, the title he holds.

However, as we speak, the French government has ruled that all athletes will have to be vaccinated in order to attend and compete in sporting events in France.

Who knows what the US Open and Wimbledon might be thinking?

Tricky times for this incredible player.

Right now, he’s a set down but there’s not a lot of Love on the scoreboard.