Swiss tennis star Roger Federer is officially the highest-paid athlete of the year, with an estimated total pre-tax earnings of US$106 million in the past twelve months.
The tennis player beat out both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have respectively held the number one spot three of the past four years. The two football players earned a combined US$209 million—which is a US$28 million drop from the previous year, mainly because of salary reductions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Federer managed to edge past both Ronaldo and Messi largely due to the “best endorsement portfolio in the world of sports” according to Forbes. The tennis player earned approximately US$100 million from his endorsement deals with Mercedes-Benz, Uniqlo, Credit Suisse, and ten other brands, which allowed him to jump from fifth place to the top spot in just one year.
It’s also the first time that two women have made the ranks since 2016; 22-year-old Naomi Osaka earned US$3.4 million in tournament pay and US$34 million from brand endorsements while Serena Williams earned US$4 million in tournaments and US$32 million in endorsements.