The 20-time Major champion Roger Federer has conquered Forbes' annual ranking of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes. The list goes back to 1990 and this is the first time with a tennis player at the top, with Federer passing four "rivals" to top the charts in the previous 12 months with $106.3 million.
Lionel Messi was the leader of the pack in 2019 and he is in the top-3 again, standing behind Federer and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo who earned $105 million. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are ranked outside the top-20, achieving more than Roger in the past year but not making as much money as the Swiss.
Roger will turn 39 in August and he is still among the players to beat, remaining in the top-4 after reaching the semi-final at the Australian Open in January.
"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," said Kurt Badenhausen, Senior Editor, Forbes.
"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. The global health crisis proves that when the economy fails, even the world's wealthiest athletes take a big hit.
Salaries and endorsement income have skyrocketed the past decade, but both are headed for steep falls, as revenues plummet for major sports leagues and companies tighten their marketing budgets." Roger Federer had a massive chance to lift the 21st Major crown at Wimbledon, squandering two match points in the title match against Novak Djokovic and playing well at Roland Garros a few weeks earlier, losing to Rafael Nadal in the semis.