The Enduring Bond Between Tennis & Rolex
The Enduring Bond Between Tennis & Rolex 

An alliance that has stood the test of the time.

It’s that time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is at its harshest, beaches have come back to life, and for the world of tennis, it’s time for new beginnings, as the crème de la crème of this art, converge in the cultural capital of Australia, to fight for one of the most coveted prizes the game has to offer. Welcome to the Australian Open, the season’s first grand slam that sets the tone for the rest of the year. 


As usual, there is no dearth of narratives. New heroes will be anointed; old guards will fall. Rolex, the esteemed timekeeper of the tournament, will be silently witnessing the rich myriad tales that will unfold within the hallowed arena of Rod Laver, and the neighbouring courts. Ever since the alliance between Rolex and the Australian Open was first forged in 2008, it has only strengthened with each passing summer. 


Perplexingly, in a sport where time itself holds not the utmost importance to the outcome of the game, the horological heritage of Rolex has forged an indelible, ever-enduring bond. Perhaps it’s the very absence of timely constraints that made Rolex such a great fit for tennis. The game flows on, against the stoic backdrop of the clock. Although you can extrapolate a lot about the game by simply looking at the clock. If the match ends within two hours, call it a complete obliteration. If it stretches to the three-hour mark, it’s most likely to be an even contest, before one player finally blinks. For anything beyond three, it’s destined to be an intense and gruelling clash, keeping everyone hooked. Time tells you a tale, and Rolex, through its unwavering commitment, pays homage to the timelessness of the tale. 


But, perhaps, the most important thing that makes this union a happy one is the brand’s allegiance to excellence, elegance, and precision—the three most important virtues of the sport. In Roger Federer, Rolex found someone whose game was a perfect confluence of sustained excellence and elegance. Federer had bid adieu to the game, but his association with Rolex is far more enduring than his illustrious tennis career. Last year at the Met Gala, he became the first person in the world to publicly wear the Rolex Perpetual 1908 edition. As the game itself, Rolex’s quest for progress never stops. As much as it takes pride in associating itself with timeless elegance, the players too feel the same. For them, being associated with Rolex is a stamp of their eminence, the biggest approval of their talent and tenacity. Currently, Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek, two of the most promising talents in tennis, are proud members of the Rolex Family. 


Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) And Jannik Sinner (ITA) at the Rod Laver Arena of the Australian Open Image Credit: Australian Open 2023


The deeper you dive into tennis history, the greater you can relate to the profound affirmation of the excellence that Rolex carries. It was in 1978 when Rolex first took a plunge into the exhilarating world of tennis, joining hands with Wimbledon. Over the next few decades, the bond has only solidified, with the Swiss watchmaker now representing all four grand slam events and some of the biggest ATP Masters tournaments. From the octogenarian Rod Laver to the vicenarian Holger Rune, tennis players across all ages and categories recognise the brand’s commitment to the world of tennis. 


Laver, the only player to complete the calendar grand slam twice, understands that Rolex is not merely a timekeeping partner, but a brand that is as committed as anyone to take tennis to soaring heights. “Rolex being part of the Australian Open is important for the sport and for our country on the global stage. From the Grand Slams to the 1000 events and, of course, the players, Rolex supports so many aspects of the tennis world. It is an incredible partnership and one that I have seen thrive over many years,” says the legendary Laver. 


Image Credit: Australian Open, 2024


While Federer might have been the biggest poster boy of Rolex, the brand has been equally steadfast in its dedication to women’s athletes. The Australian Open 2024 is a tournament marked by a few notable comebacks in women’s singles, and perhaps none bigger than the comebacks of Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki, two of the biggest Rolex loyalists. It’s only fitting that Wozniacki snaps her grand slam hiatus in Melbourne, where she won her first major title in 2018. Wozniacki vividly recalls how her first purchase as a professional tennis player was a stainless-steel Rolex Daytona . “It marked an important time in my life and felt like the perfect reward for all the hard work and perseverance over the years,” says Wozniacki. 


Just like Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber too returns to the circuit after a long absence, and the presence of Rolex at the court adds a sense of familiarity. “I think it’s great to have Rolex present at the biggest tournaments around the world,” says Kerber, the former world number one who put up a great fight before going down in her first-round game. “Being a Testimonee and seeing the Rolex crown makes me feel at home and even more a part of the event. Sometimes it gives you additional motivation too and helps you get that extra 2–3 per cent out of your game, to perform well on court and run for every ball.” 


As players strive to leave an indelible mark in the folklore of tennis, the ever-constant presence of Rolex serves as an important reminder of what it truly takes to achieve the pantheon of greatness. For someone like the 20-year-old Holger Rune, being a part of the Rolex family gives an extra inspiration to achieve his lifelong ambition: of winning a grand slam. “It’s great to see Rolex’s support of these tournaments and also very cool to know that you’re part of the family of Testimonies. In 2024, my goal is to win the Grand Slam,” says Rune.


Featured Image Credit: Australian Open, 2024.

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