In November of 2009, Novak Djokovic signed a 10-year apparel deal with Sergio Tacchini, as his former sponsor adidas put its money in Andy Murray. It was a huge coup for the brand, who once had Pete Sampras and John McEnroe, but hadn’t been able to find relevance.
But on Tuesday, Tacchini announced in a statement that the two had mutually decided to part ways. The reasoning? The small brand couldn’t handle the success that the Serbian player had with them.
In their clothes, Djokovic has won four majors, including the Australian Open twice. He has also won 84.7 percent of his matches (161 out of 190) and has been No. 1 in the world for nearly 11 consecutive months.
The story of how the deal unraveled is hard to fathom.
Sources tell CNBC that Tacchini was able to sign Djokovic by offering him a smaller guarantee than the larger companies would pay, but promised bigger should he do well. When Djokovic kept winning, the company fell behind on payments to the tennis star.