UNIQLO LifeWear Day Tokyo event report
UNIQLO LifeWear Day Tokyo was held on 14 October 2019 (Monday/national holiday) at Tokyo’s Ariake Tennis Park – regarded as hallowed ground for tennis in Japan. This event was an opportunity to communicate UNIQLO’s LifeWear concept more widely through tennis, and to let people know about the sustainability activities that Fast Retailing and UNIQLO are regularly engaged in. A portion of the proceeds was donated to UNIQLO’s charity activities. On the day, the event kicked off with all six of the UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassadors – Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Shingo Kunieda, Gordon Reid, Adam Scott and Ayumu Hirano – as well as John Isner (ATP Ranking: 17th, as of 21 October 2019), who played on behalf of the injured Kei Nishikori. Spectators waited from early in the morning for the doors to open, and with around 8,000 visitors of all ages, the event turned out a great success. Especially exciting for both the crowd watching and the players taking part was the “New Mixed Doubles” match played by four top players: Federer and Isner from men’s singles tennis, and Kunieda and Reid from men’s wheelchair tennis.
Entering the ground floor entrance of the Ariake Coliseum, visitors were greeted by photograph panels signed by the ambassadors.
The ambassadors signed the panels just before the event.
Visitors enjoyed snapping photos in front of the panels of their favorite ambassadors.
Program 1: Tennis Clinic
About 45 children demonstrated a tennis-based ball game called “Tenipin”, proposed by the Japan Tennis Association (JTA) as part of its campaign to promote tennis and the “Tennis Play & Stay” program, recommended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The participating children were pupils from the Tokyo Gakugei University Koganei Elementary School and children selected by the JTA. They had fun playing mini games and taking commemorative photos with Kei Nishikori, who unfortunately couldn’t take part in the day’s matches due to injury. And, Roger Federer was a surprise participant in the second half of the program! He tried playing Tenipin and Tennis Play & Stay for the first time with the children. Using the equipment used in Tenipin and Tennis Play & Stay instead of their usual rackets, Federer and Nishikori had huge smiles on their faces as they played.
Program 2: Public Practice
Even charity matches aren’t just for fun. These world-class players gave it their all in this public practice, just as they would in a normal match. The practice was started off by Federer and Isner, who would later participate in the men’s singles match. The satisfying sound of ball on racket reverberated around the center court.
Next up were men’s wheelchair tennis players, Kunieda and Reid. The chair and ball control displayed by the two players captured the audience’s attention.
Program 3: New Mixed Doubles
After the public practice, Federer fulfilled a wish of the first UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador, Shingo Kunieda, by making a surprise appearance on center court and playing a rally with him. Then, Isner was called to the court to partner with Reid, and a one-off game of “New Mixed Doubles” began between these four top tennis players, with Nishikori as umpire. This surprise match was played by Federer/Kunieda against Isner/Reid as first pair to 10 points. With his dream fulfilled, Kunieda played with a big smile on his face from start to finish.
In the second half, Nishikori called out “Adam!” and Adam Scott also appeared on center court, followed by Ayumu Hirano. All six ambassadors gathered on center court for the first time that day. The match was won 10–9 by Isner/Reid.
Program 4: Opening Ceremony
Kenichiro Yamanishi, president of the JTA, who supported the event, and Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President and CEO of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., appeared alongside the six ambassadors. A moment of silence was observed for the victims of Typhoon Hagibis, which struck Japan two days before the event.
Program 5: Men’s Wheelchair Singles
The match between Japan’s world-class wheelchair tennis player Shingo Kunieda and Gordon Reid, Rio de Janeiro Paralympics gold medallist, 2016 winner of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, began. The atmosphere was completely different to that during the public practice and the new mixed doubles as this serious wheelchair tennis match was played in front of approximately 8,000 tennis fans. With the huge crowd looking on, Kunieda won 3−1. In the post-match interview, Kunieda said “I enjoyed the match more than anyone”.
Program 6: Men’s Singles Match
Capping off the event, the final program was a serious men’s singles match between Federer and Isner. With Swiss flags dotting the stands, many people were clearly looking forward to seeing Federer play in Japan for the first time in 13 years. This was a three-set match, and it started with Federer’s serve. Right from the opening of the match, there was loud applause for each shot played by both players. Federer’s superb performance made it hard to believe that he hadn’t played in Japan for 13 years. He chased down and returned balls despite losing his balance, and hit a splendid backhand down the line to take the point. His opponent's serves were absolutely incredible to watch, as they came pinging down from a 2 meter tall Isner. A huge cheer went up in the arena every time he won a point on ace against Federer. There were also some amicable moments that don’t happen in official games, such as Federer clapping along with the spontaneous shouts of “Let’s go, Roger! Let’s go!” from the stands during the change-of-ends. The match ended with an ace by Federer. Federer’s splendid 6–3, 7–6 win brought UNIQLO LifeWear Day Tokyo to a close.
Inside the venue, there were booths selling commemorative T-shirts of the event, as well as presenting Fast Retailing’s sustainability activities. There was also a booth where visitors could vote on where the proceeds of the event would be donated to.
Many people took part in a quiz to win Ambassador-related merchandise.
A portion of the proceeds of the tennis matches were donated in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis, starting with organisations that UNIQLO supports, such as the Special Olympics and the Setouchi Olive Foundation. A tennis match revenue-and-expenditure report and details of the donations to organisations and areas were announced as well.
We appreciate the many people who participated in the event. UNIQLO will continue to contribute to society through various activities aimed at making the world a better place.