NOVAK DJOKOVIC is still feeling the after-effects of his vaccination row in Australia.
Novak Djokovic will lose up to £23million if Lacoste cancels its agreement with the former world number one. The French clothing company looks set to terminate Djokovic’s blockbuster contract three years prematurely in the aftermath of his vaccination row in Australia at the start of the year.
Djokovic’s partnership with Lacoste is in serious doubt after WTA icon Venus Williams signed a multi-million deal to become an ambassador on March 1.
Williams – a six-time Grand Slam winner – has enjoyed an outstanding tennis career and looks to be positioned as Lacoste’s new headliner.
The glamorous deal will likely spell the end of Djokovic’s run with the brand, despite signing a contract extension until 2025 just seven months ago.
And the decision to change ambassadors is thought to stem from the Serbian star’s vaccination issues, which led to his deportation from Australia in January.
According to Swiss journalist Benjamin Weinman, via Blic Sport, Djokovic’s absence from the Australian Open was the catalyst of Lacoste’s discontent.
He was the focus of millions of negative headlines after being refused entry to Melbourne due to his refusal to accept the Covid-19 vaccine.
And for that reason, plus the risk of being denied entry to other tournaments due to his vaccination stance, Lacoste has found a new face of the brand.
As a result, Djokovic will lose £23m (€28.2m) in total, accumulated from almost £8m (€9.4m) a year
The 34-year-old signed a five-year deal with Lacoste in 2017 after ending his partnership with Japanese supplier Uniqlo.
And last year, they extended the agreement until 2025 amid a phenomenal season, in which he won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.
He has won eight Grand Slam titles in total whilst repping the famous crocodile on his shirt, most recently at SW19 in London last summer.
And Djokovic also spent a significant time at the ATP rankings summit as a Lacoste athlete before Daniil Medvedev overtook him in recent weeks.
But he will now have to find a new supplier for the remainder of the 2022 season, with the Troyes-based manufacturer set to withdraw from their agreement.
Djokovic, who recently split up with his long-term coach Marian Vajda, has also recently lost a sponsorship deal with Peugeot following the debacle Down Under.
The Serbian finally got his season up and running when he played at the Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai where he fell at the quarter-final hurdle to Jiri Vesely.
It is unclear if he will play at Indian Wells in California this month, but Djokovic has been included in the draw despite the non-US citizens having to prove their vaccination against Covid to travel into the country.
In a statement, tournament organisers said: “Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list, and therefore is placed into the draw today. We are currently in communication with his team; however, it has not been determined if he will participate in the event by getting CDC approval to enter the country.”