The Crocodile snaps back: Lacoste CEO jumps in to defend Novak Djokovic against former Nike CEO

Novak Djokovic in Melbourne

Lacoste CEO Thierry Guibert has jumped to the defence of their top signed athlete Novak Djokovic.

This comes after a week where Djokovic came in for some criticism from former Nike CEO Mike Nakajima.

Nakajima’s vague criticism of Djokovic hasn’t gone down well with fans of Djokovic and a number of neutrals and tennis fans.

In a gloriously response Lacoste fired a few shots at Nike athlete Rafael Nadal while defending Djokovic.

Nike have sponsored Rafael Nadal since he was a teenager while Djokovic signed an apparel deal with Lacoste.

It is worth noting that Djokovic has never been sponsored or indeed worn an item of Nike apparel in competition.

Djokovic was initially kitted out by Adidas before switching to a sponsorship deal with Tacchini in 2010 and Uniqlo in 2012.

However, in 2017 Djokovic joined forces with the massively influential ‘tennis’ brand Lacoste.

The clothing company was launched by former french tennis star Rene Lacoste.

While Nike are a massive brand with huge exposure, Lacoste has an inside line when it comes to tennis.

While Lacoste and Nike don’t get to go head to head directly, they are ready to back their proxy in the brand war with full vim and vigour.

Nakajima has drawn fire for his comments on Novak Djokovic made during an interview with CNN.

“He could well be the most successful tennis player ever. But there’s always a dark cloud around him. It’s like he brings it upon himself. He hits the lineswoman at the US Open (in 2020) and gets disqualified? It happens, I guess.

But why does it always happen to Novak? Or the whole controversy about the Covid-19 vaccination. Now, as a brand: do I want to be behind somebody who always has controversy around him? Or do I want to go with an athlete with a squeaky clean image?” Nakajima told CNN.

Guibert wasn’t having it, and came out to bat for Djokovic with a tweet aimed at Nike and their biggest sponsored athlete in tennis Nadal.

“Lacoste is so proud to have Nole and would never choose Nadal (with all due respect to him). Thanks @NDjokofan for the English translation,” Lacoste CEO Guibert tweeted.

Lacoste also sponsor 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and the WTA Tour’s indoor maven Anett Kontaveit.

The brand have backed Djokovic through the visa and vaccination issues that dogged his 2022 season.

As they proclaimed not so long ago: “The exceptional athlete and men’s tennis world No 1 shares common values with the French Crocodile: audacity, commitment and elegance.”

READ MORE: Patrick Mouratoglou divides fans after defending Novak Djokovic following comments from ex-Nike tennis boss