In 2018, Novak Djokovic expressed doubts about switching his footwear supplier, nevertheless, the decision has proven to be a triumph, as evidenced by his impressive collection of titles.
After a decade of success on the game’s biggest stages wearing Adidas and Lacoste shoes on court, the move towards a deal with ASICS was a big decision for the Serbian legend. Yet the prospects of having a more active role in the development of the shoes he will be wearing at this year’s French Open is one of the reasons why Djokovic rolled the dice with what he describes as a ‘crucial’ piece of his on-court armour.
WHAT WILL DJOKOVIC WEAR?
“At the beginning, I said I don’t want to change,” reflects Djokovic.
“When I switched from my last sponsor to ASICS shoes, I felt like I was going from a commercial car to a sports car.
“I felt lighter on my feet, I felt there was more flexibility. I could change direction quicker, and I could slide. Why change when you feel good? You change to try and make an even better shoe.
“ASICS tennis shoes are definitely the best shoe I have played in, they are very comfortable and aid my movement, giving me flexibility and stability.”
The all-action brand of tennis Djokovic brings to the court means the shoes he wears are vital to his ambitions, with his eagerness to slide at the back of the court meaning he needs stability in his feet and ankles.
Djokovic will wear the Court FF Novak shoe at the French Open, which features Asics Twistruss technology in the midfoot; helping connect outsole pieces and allowing for stability on impact and during a slide.
Djokovic spoke at length about the production process for his new ASICS Court FF3 Novak trainers and even won his first major in the shoes at the Australian Open in January.
“Every tennis player has specific needs, things they want to emphasise in their footwear,” stated the world No.3.
“I’ve really enjoyed the process of making these shoes,” he added. “I was involved at several points and I am really proud of the whole process.
“For us, we change directions a lot, and the first step is crucial. We need a good shoe to absorb the shock of stopping and help us change direction and that is what we have produced.”
If you ever see a tennis player with their socks off, you will appreciate the strain placed on their feet by a sport that demands a lot of rapid and sharp movement.
WHAT SHOES WILL OTHER TOP PLAYERS WEAR AT THE FRENCH OPEN?
The favourite to win the French Open wears Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro, as part of his lucrative deal with the sportswear giant. These shoes offer a low-to-the-ground design and the springy Zoom Air cushioning that helps you break from baseline to baseline.
The world No.1 on the women’s tour signed a lucrative deal with On shoes (a company partly owned by Roger Federer) to become their first marquee female player. However, she wore ASICS shoes at the Madrid Open earlier this month so it will be intriguing to see if she wears On shoes in Paris.
Last year’s French Open runner-up has a deal with Adidas is currently wearing their slick Adizero Cybersonic tennis shoe. These shoes hug your foot tightly and offer great stability thanks to the eye-catching energy rods on the back.
A player who played under a Kazakhstani flag at the French Open will wear Adidas Avacourt shoes at the French Open. This athletic performer needs to be mobile and agile on court and her current trainer certainly looks to be helping her excel.
READ MORE: Chris Evert’s French Open predictions