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Roger Federer’s $109M Earnings Make Him Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athlete, Beating LeBron James + More

Roger Federer is the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Forbes released its annual ranking of the wealthiest sports professionals this week and the tennis ace tops the list over the likes of soccer star Lionel Messi, basketball icon LeBron James and more. According to the publisher, Federer took home $109 million of pre-tax earnings between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020. The athlete’s fortune comes from high-ticketed deals with the likes of Uniqlo, Mercedes Benz and Credit Suisse along with 10 other major partners.

Roger Federer Roger Federer V Victor Hanescu Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2013 Day One 24/06/2013Roger Federer Roger Federer V Victor Hanescu Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2013 Day One 24/06/2013 Picture Andy Hooper ......daily Mail.
Roger Federer on the court at Wimbledon in 2013.
CREDIT: Andy Hooper/Shutterstock

Federer is followed in line by Cristiano Ronaldo in second and Lionel Messi at third. The two have repeatedly flipped between the top spots in the past four years before being topped by Federer in 2020. With Ronaldo’s deals with Nike and Atlice on top of Messi’s links to Adidas, PepsiCo and MasterCard, the soccer pros racked up $105 million and $104 million, respectively; collectively down by $28 million.

Ronaldo and Messi aren’t the only ones experiencing budget cuts either. With seasons postponed across practically every professional sport, the overall total combined salary from the athletes ranked dropped 9% from 2019 to $3.6 billion.

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Lionel Messi, soccer, Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo
CREDIT: Alejandro Garcia/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Amongst the athletes from 21 countries and 10 sports, two women made the ranking for the first time since 2016. Serena Williams, ranking at 33, a longtime member of the exclusive list, is joined by newcomer and fellow tennis pro Naomi Osaka, who beat her predecessor by three spots making it to 29th.

Williams currently runs her own brand in addition to a mammoth deal with Nike while Osaka brought in $3.4 million in tournament play alone — but another $34 million from Nike, Nissan and Procter & Gamble contracts also helped along the way.

naomi osaka, serena williams, style, tennis
Naomi Osaka (L) and Serena Williams
CREDIT: Warren Today/Shutterstock

NBA players top out the list with the most names, followed by the NFL. The MLB was hardest hit with its season stopping before it even started; only one player, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, managed to break into the top group with $27.3 million.

Other names of note on the list include Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Steph Curry and Tiger Woods all making the top 10 as well as Tom Brady nabbing the 21st spot and rookie Zion Williamson taking rank 57.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant
CREDIT: AP Photo/Ben Margot

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