Whenever you look at the wrist of a tennis player, there is usually at least a sweatband on their main playing hand. Other practical accessories on the arm include tape, sleeves, and more. However, there is one piece of equipment that doesn’t really seem to make a lot of sense when being worn by top players, watches.
Why do tennis players wear watches? At the pro level, the answer is almost always due to sponsorship. Some of the top names in watches understand that top tennis players can market a specific timepiece. Since the game is played with a tennis racket and the wrist is right there in plain view so many times up close during a match, fans get a decent amount of glimpses at something they may look into buying.
Tennis, on average, also has a solid fan base with a good amount of disposable income, so high-end brands understand the marketing potential. A Rolex becomes quite a bit cooler when Roger Federer is casually wearing it around during practice and press conferences.
Wearing The Watch During and After a Match
Today, there are very few of the top players on tour who pass up on the opportunity for some extra endorsement money wearing a branded watch. Brands like Rolex, Tag Heuer, Richard Mille, Rado, and Audemars Piguet are just a few watch companies that have dabbled in sponsoring a top player.
They are giving players free watches, but money on top of that as well. The top players can expect to easily get over $1 million from a watch deal.
Every top player’s endorsement contract is going to be different, but some players have found it to be perfectly fine to wear a watch during play. Perhaps the most notable change over the last few years was when Nadal officially signed on with Richard Mille.
Throughout his career, Nadal has been known as one of the most superstitious players on tour. To add something to a wrist that he uses on his backhand was a big shocker across the tour. Sure, he has been taken care of by the company, and his watch is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With that said, athletes are always superstitious, and it was a huge gamble to add something to his wrist during the prime of his career.
Pro Players Watches:
- Novak Djokovic’s Watch:
- Rafael Nadal’s Watch:
- Roger Federer’s Watch
- Stan Wawrinka’s Watch
- Alexander Zverev’s Watch
- Serena Williams’ Watch
- Naomi Osaka’s Watch
Not Everyone Wears Watch On Court
Nadal is just one of the players on tour capable of wearing a watch during a match. However, not every player can do it. Roger Federer and Andy Murray are two examples of players who have watch deals, but they do not wear them during play.
It is not until right after the match that they throw on their watch so that it is visible during the on-court interview, as well as trophy presentations, press conferences, and more.
The players that don’t wear their watches during matches just can’t adjust, no matter how much money is in the endorsement deal. Tennis players have their rackets adjusted just right in order for them to feel perfectly in their hands. Adding even a little bit of weight to their off-hand is a risk some are not willing to take.
Creatures Of Habit
Not all players are that open to adding a watch to their match day gear, but all it takes is a little bit of success to create a habit. For example, if Nadal did not play well soon after adding a watch, there is a good chance that he would have found a way to stop wearing it. Money from endorsements is always great, but no one wants to sacrifice their actual playing career.
There are a select few players still on the tour that just have a habit of wearing a watch while playing tennis. Maybe they started at an early age, or they had a good run at a tournament or two and decided to stick with the good luck charm.
A watch during a match serves basically no purpose whatsoever, but it’s a style piece in the end. There aren’t many players wearing a watch without an endorsement deal, but they still exist.
The Genius Behind Watch Marketing
In an era where there is marketing in a person’s face everywhere they turn, watches on a tennis player is a very subtle way to advertise without being over-the-top. The watch is constantly in close-up shots during the match, but it is rarely talked about other than maybe one or two comments from those calling the match.
The players are never overly advertising their watches either. Since the wrist is so visible at all times, it is there without having to make a splash. In fact, most people have to end up looking online to see what watch a certain player plays with. It’s not like these watches have big names on them to make everyone know at home exactly who makes them.
Do Watches Get In The Way Of Playing Tennis?
As long as people wear watches on the proper wrist, there is usually no issue with playing tennis at a high level. Some people who have two-handed backhands do not like the field, but it is not so much of an issue that players stop wearing them altogether.
The proper way to wear a watch is to always have it on the non-dominant hand. This goes for casual wear as well as sports. This means the watch will never get in the way when it comes to serving, hitting forehands, and most of the other shots people rely on.
The best thing to do before committing to wearing a watch is to practice with it a few times. Some people will never be able to get over the feel of a watch during play. Maybe it is a psychological thing, or the watch might be too big and bulky to deal with.
Are Smartwatches The Future In Tennis?
At local clubs, there has been an increase in the number of people wearing a watch during tennis. However, it usually isn’t a watch that is worth thousands and thousands of dollars. The average club player who invests in a watch like that probably does not want to get it sweaty.
Smartwatches are showing up quite a bit, and they actually do provide a service when people are playing. A lot of casual players enjoy the fact that they can track a number of measurables while playing. Tracking calories burned and heart rate are just a few examples of the benefits of wearing a smartwatch while doing any physical activity.
Some companies have tried to get in on the smartwatch rage and have added tracking devices specifically for tennis. This allows a person to understand the strokes they hit, the success rate of those strokes, and plenty of other useful information.
The tracking devices aren’t perfect, but they do show that there is a definite future in wearables in tennis. It might not be exactly what the top players are advertising during matches, but maybe in the future creative smartwatch companies will look into it.
It doesn’t make a ton of sense for tennis players to wear high-end watches while playing the sport, unless they are getting paid to do it. Not only does it increase the chance of damage, but it just adds unneeded weight.
The major watch companies are advertising with pro players because they know there is a market for these watches worn casually. People who really enjoy the sport and also like a player’s particular timepiece might take the time to look up all the information online.
Some people are shocked by how much the price is, but others will see it as an investment opportunity. There are plenty of people who enjoy collecting watches and wearing them, just usually not on the tennis court. Leave that to the players who have great relationships with top companies around the world. They are not only getting their watches for free, but getting paid quite a bit of money as well.