| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

UNIQLO has announced that it has appointed world number one-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia as its global brand ambassador. The five-year partnership will see Djokovic promoting the UNIQLO brand and UNIQLO clothing worldwide. The partnership will also include collaboration on future product lines, as well as co-developing the ultimate UNIQLO functional wear. A preview of the collaboration’s first results will be seen at the 2012 French Open, where Djokovic will debut his newly-designed UNIQLO match wear to spectators in Paris and to a worldwide TV audience.

“We are extremely pleased to have Novak Djokovic become UNIQLO’s global brand ambassador," said Tadashi Yanai, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Japanese retailer Fast Retailing. "We will use the most innovative fabrics and technologies to develop match wear that can contribute to the performance of a globally recognized and respected sports person like Novak. At the same time, UNIQLO will incorporate latest fabrics and technologies to co-develop with him the ultimate functional apparel that can be worn, and enjoyed, by people all over the world.”

In launching the new partnership between UNIQLO and Djokovic, UNIQLO confirms that as its first corporate social responsibility activity it will manufacture a custom-designed charity UT (UNIQLO T-shirt) to sell at a select number of UNIQLO stores and online. Proceeds from the sale of this UT will be donated to the Novak Djokovic Foundation to support children’s programs. Details regarding the design of the UT, as well as timing and location of sale will be announced in due course.

"I am honored and also very excited to have been appointed as the UNIQLO global brand ambassador," said Djokovic. "UNIQLO is a cool brand with strong roots in Japan, a country whose culture and way of life I respect. I have a personal philosophy which I call ‘Be Unique,’ and this is based on my strong passion, drive and eagerness to keep improving myself. I am passionate about being the best possible tennis player, as well as the best possible person, and I have a continuous desire to help people, especially children, who have been less fortunate than I."

Djokovic added, “I feel a natural connection with UNIQLO. To me, UNIQLO is not fast fashion, and it’s not sports wear. UNIQLO is the ultimate functional wear, which is exactly what I need as both a sports person and an individual who leads a very active life. I look forward to collaborating with UNIQLO in the development of new products and to getting to know the global UNIQLO family better.”