During Roger Federer’s long-term association with Nike, the brand’s clothing and equipment with the Swiss tennis legend’s ‘RF’ logo displayed on it was a huge hit. Mike Nakajima, the former head of the brand’s tennis division who served as Nike’s tennis director for almost 30 years, recently threw light on the famous RF collection and revealed the contribution of the Swiss great’s wife Mirka towards the same.

Nakajima said that Mirka was often involved in the design and ideation process of the RF collection, conveying to the brand what Federer liked and disliked when it came to his fashion image. Nakajima said that the 20-time Grand Slam champion also often spoke his mind about what he liked and even told Nike that he was more comfortable wearing tailor-fitted outfits on the court, as opposed to the baggy style which is famous in the United States.

Whenever the Swiss great was not available for decision-making on the clothing and equipment of the RF collection, Mirka certainly was. Nakajima reflected on his association with the Federers in an excerpt from the book titled ‘The Roger Federer effect’, co-authored by Simon Cambers and Simon Graf.

“We realized that Europeans are so far ahead in fashion. Roger wanted it a lot more tailor-fitted. So we started creating the Roger Federer collection,” Nakajima revealed.

“That’s something Mirka was very involved with. When Roger wasn’t available, Mirka was,” he added.

Nakajima said that he and his team always trusted Mirka’s input.

“She told us, ‘This is what Roger likes,’ and we went by that,” the former Nike tennis head stated.

The Swiss superstar parted ways with Nike in 2018, thus marking the end of a 24-year-long association. He first signed with the brand as a 13-year-old. After his Nike deal fell apart, the now 41-year-old signed a 10-year-long $300 million dollar deal with Uniqlo in 2018.

“The RF hat became one of the most iconic pieces we have ever created” – Nike’s former tennis director on the popular Roger Federer collection

Once they decided to go along with the Roger Federer collection, Nike was always keen on making highly fashionable products that would become big hits, Mike Nakajima explained. Among the biggest hits was the polo shirt with the RF logo on it, and the iconic RF hat, which Nakajima revealed became one of the most popular products the brand has ever created.

The RF hat became the No. 1 bestseller at the US Open due to the Swiss legend’s ever-growing popularity back in his playing days.

“We wanted to make sure that the tennis product we made, especially for Roger, became wearable as fashion,” Nakajima said.

“A nice polo with a little RF logo; people just went crazy over that. The RF hat was our number one seller at the US Open. A hat. It became one of the most iconic pieces we have ever created,” he revealed.

Nakajima also reflected on the bitter end of the brand’s association with the five-time US Open champion, calling it an ‘atrocity’ as he feels that Nike should have retained Federer on a lifetime deal.