Tennis

Roger Federer Serves up Aces on the Forbes List of Highest-Paid Athletes

Do we dare say that Roger Federer has quite the racket going? The Swiss tennis star’s best days are behind him, but he still has managed to become the sport’s first player to top the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

Roger Federer is a superstar in endorsements, too

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Roger Federer has not won a grand slam event since he 2018 Australian Open. In fact, only three of his 20 titles from the big four tournaments have come since Wimbledon in 2012.

Perhaps Federer missed his calling in life and should be playing baseball instead because the man can pitch with the best of them. In pegging his haul for the past 12 months at $106.3 million, Forbes cited Federer’s top-notch portfolio of product endorsements.

His sponsorships that include Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Credit Suisse, Barilla, and Wilson Sporting Goods all come with a price tag of between $3 million and $30 million a year.

The most recent rankings are based on prize money, salaries, endorsements, royalties, and appearance since June 1, 2019. Federer made $64 million in 2017, $77.2 million in 2018, and $93.4 million last season, when he ranked fifth in the world.

It’s not as though he has trouble making money the old-fashioned way, either. Federer’s career earnings on the court are just short of $130 million.

Soccer stars pull down almost as much as Roger Federer

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Top tennis players, who typically play fairly limited schedules, are just now being hit their hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The French Open normally played in May is the first grand slam event that Roger Federer and other stars in the sport are missing because the tournament has been pushed back to early in the fall.

The money survey estimates the 100 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion, a drop of 9% from the previous year that could largely be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Soccer players have been hit hard. Most of the world’s top leagues have lost more than two months of games, which is cutting into salaries and endorsements.

A year ago, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar held down the top three spots on the list. This time around, Ronaldo ($105 million), Messi ($104 million), and Neymar ($95.5 million) check in at the second through fourth positions. Messi’s drop from $127 million a year ago is particularly precipitous.

Rounding out the top 10

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Once the list moves beyond Roger Federer and the soccer stars, the rest of the Forbes top 10 has an American look to it:

The only two women on the list are tennis players. Naomi Osaka ranks 29th at $37.4 million, a record for female athletes, and Serena Williams is 33rd at $36 million.

This is the first time since 2016 that more than one woman is on the list.