Holding court: Wimbledon and the next generation of tennis’ young watch ambassadorsD.C. Hannay
With the recent retirements of tennis superstars Roger Federer (Rolex) and Serena Williams (Audemars Piguet), and with veterans like Rafael Nadal (Richard Mille) on the back nine of their careers, watch brands have been snapping up next-gen talent. At the start of the 2023 Wimbledon tournament, here’s a look at some of the tennis young guns, and their wristwear of choice, broken down by brand.
For more than 40 years, tennis has been a vital component of Rolex’s DNA. They’re one of the sport’s major sponsors (their iconic watch dial tracking the match length courtside at the All England Club), and many tennis icons have hoisted trophies wearing a Rolex.
They include Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Stefan Edberg, and more recently, eight-time Wimbledon champ Roger Federer, the Swiss legend whose game was as beautiful as it was deadly efficient. But, Rolex being Rolex, they’ve front-loaded their roster of talent with several young phenoms, including Coco Gauff, Casper Ruud, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. But Rolex is called The Crown for a reason, which is why they’ve made sure to secure both the men’s and ladies’ number ones among their testimonees.
Poland’s Iga Świątek may only be 22, but the ladies’ world number one already has four Grand Slam titles under her belt, collecting one U.S. Open and three French Open titles, so naturally, she’s a heavy favourite.
And her favourites among the Rolex lineup are Datejusts, having rocked several, including the aubergine Roman-dialled one she wore after winning this year’s French Open. She’s also been spotted wearing a pink DJ 36 in steel with a diamond bezel.
The men’s number one, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, is another rising star gunning for the Wimbledon trophy. Incredibly athletic, he won the U.S. Open at the tender age of nineteen, and a year later, he’s looking toward the Wimbledon finals after getting bounced in the fourth round last year.
Naturally, he favours Rolex sports models, including the black-dialled steel Daytona he wore on the U.S, Open podium last year. Ballin’, indeed.
Richard Mille’s longtime poster boy, Spain’s Rafael Nadal, needs no introduction. As one of the sport’s greatest, he is still Mille’s highest profile ambassador, with several special editions named in his honour. His retirement will leave a gaping hole, but the brand has an ace up their sleeve in the form of a developing talent. Twenty-two-year-old Sebastian Korda of the U.S. was born to professional tennis-playing parents: in fact, his father Petr was number two in the world in the late ’90s. On top of that, both his sisters are top-ranked professional golfers, so I guess you could say he has some pretty big sneakers to fill. I wouldn’t worry too much for the brand, though: Korda reached the quarters of the Australian Open this year.
His RM of choice is the bonkers RM 67-02, a high-tech marvel made of Quartz TPT, carbon, and Grade 5 titanium. It’s ultra-lightweight at 32 grams, and shock resistant enough to wear during actual gameplay.
Still at the top of his game, Croatia’s Novak Djokovic is going for his eighth Wimbledon title in an effort to tie Roger Federer’s record, as well as an unprecedented 24th Grand Slam. He surpassed Rafael Nadal with his recent win at the French Open, but at 36, the time will come for him to slow down. Hublot is looking toward the future with another Croat ambassador, Borna Ćorić. A mere 26, the 6’2” powerhouse has been a Hublot ambassador since his junior days in 2015, and looks to capitalise on his athleticism this year at Wimbledon.
He’s been spotted with several choice picks from the Hublot lineup, including the titanium and ceramic Big Bang, and the wild Big Bang Sang Bleu II limited edition in King Gold.
One of TAG Heuer’s star endorsers, the United States’ Naomi Osaka is taking time off from tennis, but another North American in their stable will be at Wimbledon repping the brand. Canada’s Félix Auger-Aliassime has been ranked as high as number 6 in the world, and the 22-year-old’s impressive 6’4” height and corresponding reach makes him a formidable opponent.
His wristwear is TAG Heuer’s Connected Calibre E4 Sport Edition smartwatch. It has all the smartwatch functionality you’d expect, while being a much more watchlike experience than most.