Rolex and tennis: a 40-year partnership

Tennis is a sport with a rich history and longest traditions, yet open to innovation. This unites tennis with the Rolex brand, which cherishes its heritage but strives for innovation and excellence in watchmaking.

Roger Federer
*PHOTO: © Rolex / John BuckleRoger Federer

Rolex’s partnership with tennis dates back to 1987, when the brand became the Official Timekeeper of the Wimbledon Championships. Today, this collaboration has grown to support the most prestigious tournaments, players and sports organizations at the global level. One of Rolex’s associates is Roger Federer , the world’s greatest tennis player, who has demonstrated unrivaled sportsmanship, elegant style and polished technique on the court for over twenty years. In 2019, the number of Federer’s professional titles reached exactly 100 , with 20 of them being victories at Grand Slam tournaments.

Grand Slam tournaments

Already a partner with the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, Rolex has become the Premium Partner, Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of the French Roland Garros in 2019. Thus, today the company supports all four Grand Slam tournaments.

The French Open is distinguished by its clay surface, which requires more endurance and patience from the players than playing on a hard surface or on grass. Therefore, on the Parisian courts, real dramas often unfold.

Roland Garros
*PHOTO: © Philippe, Montigny FTFRoland Garros

One of the most dramatic women’s matches of Roland Garros is the confrontation between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova . Their legendary rivalry, which grew into friendship, lasted for 15 years. In 1985, after a three-hour struggle with varying success and a critical score, the Czech Martina Navratilova lost to Chris Evert, and the American noted that this was her greatest achievement.

– Playing tennis is very similar to life. Of course, it happens that you lose, but you can always return to the court. This teaches you that you can’t give up easily. When I look at my Rolex, I see not only 18 Grand Slams I have passed , but rather, I see a reflection of all the stages of my life. My watch is an extension of me , – said Chris Evert.Chris EvertPHOTO: © Rolex / Ben HassettChris Evert

Rolex Wimbledon. Tradition and innovation

In 1978 Rolex became the Official Timekeeper of Wimbledon. Thanks to this championship, such legendary names as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and, of course, Roger Federer appeared in the world of tennis .

In 1980, a historic match took place between Bjorn Borg, dubbed the “ice man” for his Nordic calm, and young tennis player John McEnroe, a 21-year-old left-hander with an aggressive style of play. The final of Wimbledon was a record for the Borg – no one had previously won the championship five times in a row. In a difficult emotional confrontation with the young American, Borg won. This fantastic finale is still considered the finest in Wimbledon history.

And Roger Federer has become practically the personification of Wimbledon. One of the brightest associates Rolex holds the absolute record, winning 20 tournaments Grand Slam singles titles. His most memorable achievement was his epic victory over Andy Roddick in 2009, which the whole world watched with bated breath. Thus Federer broke Pete Sampras ‘ Grand Slam record and showed the best result in the history of world tennis.

“I just hope to leave a legacy behind me. It is about preserving traditions, artistry, beauty of sport and inspiration for the next generations. It’s important to look to the future, no matter how successful you are. I want to make tennis the best I can, and I will do my best to ensure that this sport continues to develop in the right direction , – said Roger Federer, noting his role in the sport.

New Year with Australian Open

Since 2008 Rolex has supported the Australian Open. As the first Grand Slam tournament, it holds special meaning for both tennis players and the brand. Roger Federer won 6 singles titles in this championship and called him “Happy Helmet”. And in 2018 in Melbourne, he increased the number of his trophies to 20 . In the same year, Roger Federer topped the world rankings at the age of 36.Australian Open, Melbourne ParkPHOTO: © Rolex / John BuckleAustralian Open, Melbourne Park

The Australian Open was first held in 1905. At that time, the tournament was held in the suburbs of Melbourne, on the grass courts of the Cuyong club. In 1988 the championship was moved to the new tennis complex “Melbourne Park” with hard courts. The Australian championship has sparked the stars of many players, one of them being Rolex associate Australian Rod Laver . This humble left-handed gentleman has become one of the most successful players in tennis history, winning all four Grand Slam titles. In 2000, the central court of the Melbourne Park tennis stadium was named after him. 

Showtime in New York

In 2018, the US Open celebrated its 50th anniversary. In the same year, Rolex partnered with the competition, serving as the official timekeeper of the season’s fourth and final Grand Slam tournament.

The US Open is the same as New York itself – large-scale, vibrant, eventful, in which every minute is a separate show.

Team Tournaments

The Davis Cup is the premier team event in men’s tennis. Beginning as a competition between Great Britain and the United States 119 years ago, the event has now become one of the oldest annual team competitions in the world. Rolex has sponsored the Davis Cup since 2007, and after a short break renewed their commitment earlier this year.French team - 2017 Davis Cup WinnerPHOTO: © Rolex / John BuckleFrench team – 2017 Davis Cup Winner

Rolex is also a partner and co-founder of the Laver Cup, the newest tournament between the national teams of Europe and the world. During the first three years, Bjorn Borg was the captain of the European team, and John McEnroe was the captain of the world team. The first two tournaments – Prague-2017 and Chicago-2018 – ended with the victory of the European team.

Strengthening partnerships

Rolex and tennis are expanding their partnership, which manifests itself in the support of talented players and renowned tennis organizations around the world. Rolex is the Official Timekeeper of the ATP World Tour, the Nitto ATP Finals and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals. The Nitto ATP and WTA Finals bring together the top eight players – men and women – in singles and doubles.

Encouraging the continuous pursuit of excellence, Rolex has established sponsored tournaments. One of them is the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with 20 clay courts, which takes place in the luxurious Monte Carlo Country Club.

Rolex is also a sponsor of the Rolex Shanghai Masters Championship, which is considered the premier men’s sporting event in Asia. Another championship, the Rolex Paris Masters, is one of the world’s largest indoor tournaments, attracting over 130,000 spectators annually .

Eternal legacy

More than forty years ago, Rolex’s partnership with Wimbledon marked the beginning of some of the most famous tournaments and events that continue to this day.

Rolex has witnessed some of the most important moments in tennis history. With an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship and talent, Rolex strives to preserve the legacy of tennis over the long term and develop it as one of the greatest sports, ensuring continuity and inspiring generations to come.

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