Roger Federer is the king on the tennis court. Now he is also king of the sports world after becoming the highest-paid athlete with $106 million in 2020 earnings.
Federer’s earnings are underpinned by a big contract with Uniqlo, which reportedly pays him more than $30 million a year. Federer also has long term deals with Mercedes Benz, Credit Suisse, Roles, and several other well-known brands.
Either Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had held the top spot in three of the last four years. But due to COVID-19, top soccer clubs have cut players’ salaries. This enabled Federer to leapfrog to the top of the money ladder.
Five other tennis players featured in the Top 100 including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Kei Nishikori.
Money ranking of top tennis players
23. Novak Djokovic – $44.6 million
27. Rafael Nadal – $40 million
29. Naomi Osaka – $37.4 million
33. Serena Williams – $36 million
40. Kei Nishikori – $32 million
This is the first time that a tennis player has topped the Forbes list in its 30-year history. Naomi Osaka topped the women’s list.
Top tennis players are making more money than ever in endorsements. Tennis has global appeal and brands have been eager to sign up top players such as Roger Federer and Naomi Osaka.
World Number 1 Novak Djokovic is expected to overtake Federer in grand slam wins before he retires. But his earnings are less than half of Federer’s. A good chunk of Djokovic’s earnings comes from his wins on the court whereas Federer’s earnings are dominated by huge sponsorship deals.
Kei Nishikori has made the Fobes list in recent years due to his deals with Japanese companies. Nishikori is the most recognizable Asian athlete on the men’s tour.