Roger Federer becomes world’s highest paid athlete, says Forbes

Roger Federer becomes the highest paid athlete a week after fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka tops the list for highest paid female athlete

Roger Federer is the first tennis player to top the annual Forbes list of the world’s highest paid athletes, overtaking footballer Lionel Messi.

Federer, 38, moved up four places after earning £86.2m in the past year – about £81m of it in endorsements

Cristiano Ronaldo (£85m), Messi (£84m) and Neymar (£77.5m) come next, while American basketball player LeBron James (£71.5m) completes the top five.

Boxer Tyson Fury was the highest earning Briton in 11th (£46.2m).

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton came 13th with earnings of £43.7m.

It follows Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka becoming the highest paid female athlete earlier this month. She is 29th overall in the list, which was released on Friday.

“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 $100m a year for the tennis great.”

Last week, two-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, 22, ended Serena Williams’ run of four years as the highest paid female athlete after earning £30.7m.

That was £1.15m more than earned by 38-year-old Williams.

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