Tennis star Roger Federer is at the top of Forbes’ annual rankings of the “World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes.” Federer made $106.3 million over the past year after coming in at No. 5 on the 2019 list. This marks the first time that a tennis player has held the top spot since the list began on an annual basis in 1990.
As Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhause explained, the coronavirus pandemic causing salary cuts in many team sports helped tennis stars like Federer climb the list.
“The coronavirus pandemic triggered salary cuts for soccer stars Messi and Ronaldo, clearing the way for a tennis player to rank as the world’s highest-paid athlete for the first time,” Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen wrote. “Roger Federer is the perfect pitchman for companies, resulting in an unparalleled endorsement portfolio of blue-chip brands worth $100 million a year for the tennis great.”
In addition, Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid female athlete in sports history. As was previously reported, Osaka earned a record-breaking $37.4 million over the past year, surpassing Serena Williams in the process. Osaka came in at No. 29 on the “World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” list this time around while Williams is No. 33. It marked the highest female representation on the Forbes list in history.
One of the biggest reasons for Osaka’s wealth was an endorsement deal with Nike, which netted her over $10 million last year. After agreeing to represent Japan in the 2020 Olympics, Osaka also signed deals with Olympic sponsors, such as Procter & Gamble, All Nippon Airways, and Nissin.
Here’s the top 10 highest-paid athletes on this year’s list:
As a group, the 100 highest-paid athletes collectively earned $3.6 billion over the past year, which is a 9 percent decline from the previous 12 months.
Messi, who held the No. 1 spot in 2019, dropped down to the third spot after earning $104 million over the past year. Christiano Ronaldo just edged out Messi with $105 million for the year for the No. 2 spot behind Federer. LeBron James is the first American-born athlete on the list at No. 5, as the Los Angeles Lakers star amassed $88.2 million over the past 12 months.
The 2020 version of this list takes into account prize money, salaries, bonuses, endorsements, royalties and appearance fees from June 1, 2019 and June 1, 2020.