Roger Federer is the world’s highest-paid athlete for 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic knocked soccer’s Lionel Messi off top spot, according to the annual Forbes list released on Friday.
The Swiss tennis great, owner of a men’s record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, earned $106.3 million in the last 12 months, including $100 million via endorsements, to move up four places and become the first player from his sport to top the list.
Soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), Messi ($104 million) and Neymar ($95.5 million) and American basketball player LeBron James ($88.2 million) rounded out the top five.
“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 at 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.”
Japan’s Naomi Osaka ($37.4 million), who was ranked 29th on the list, surpassed fellow tennis player Serena Williams ($36 million) as the world’s highest-earning female athlete.
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