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The Strange Career of Sergio Tacchini

The Italian designer once made tracksuits for the world. Then it went bankrupt. So how did a Chinese investor get the world’s greatest tennis player to wear it again?

After his third-round victory at the 2011 U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic, the eventual champion, slouched in a chair wearing a navy blue T-shirt stamped with “Authentic Club Staff” on the front and the logo of the apparel maker, Sergio Tacchini, on the sleeve.

It was a friendly affair, as these press conferences usually are. (“You play so well on the big points,” began one questioner. “Is that something that’s come over the last year or so?”) At one point, though, Djokovic was put on the defensive. “Around this complex, Roger [Federer] and Rafael Nadal have their own store, Andy Roddick has a huge picture over the Lacoste store. You’re not quite as visible despite being the No. 1 player,” said a reporter. “Do you care about that at all?” Djokovic smiled. “Well, I think I have to talk to my sponsors about it.”