Roger Federer has been crowned No 1 on Forbes’ Highest paid Athletes list for the first time in his career.
The Swiss tennis icon has held off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar and LeBron James to take top spot with pre-tax earnings in 2020 of $106.3million (£85.9m).
Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles to date which is the most of any male player in the tennis Open era, has amassed such a profile that he generated $100million (£80.7m) in endorsements alone.INE LAST S
Interestingly, Forbes’ research found that the top 100 highest-paid athletes earned a combined figure of $3.6billion in the last year.
While that is a staggering figure, it is nine per cent below what was reported in 2019 and represents the first decline in earnings since 2016.
The 38-year-old Swiss is just the ninth athlete to take top sport since it was first done in 1990. He is the first tennis player in those 30 years to finish No 1, too.
Federer topping the pile is significant given that Ronaldo, who finished second, and Messi, who finished third, have traded the No 1 position in three of the last four years the list was compiled.
But the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and major pay-cuts at both of their clubs, have seen their overall earnings take a hit, resulting in them conceding first place.
Ronaldo and Messi combined for total pre-tax earnings of $209million (£169m) in the last 12 months, a $28m (£22.6m) drop from the year before.
Messi announced in March that Barcelona’s players took a 70 per cent pay cut to help the club get through the pandemic.
Ronaldo and his Juventus team-mates waived four months wages in a bid to do their part, a move which is believed to save the Italian champions €90million (£81m).
WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, is the highest earning British athlete, according to the list, narrowly edging out Formula One champion, Lewis Hamilton, who ranks 13th, two places below Fury. Fury has returned to the top of the sport of boxing and now holds one of the prestigious heavyweight belts having beaten Deontay Wilder, who ranks 20th on the list, in February by knockout to take the prize belt.
Fury’s breakdown shows $50million in winnings and salary with $7million of his pre-tax yearly earnings from endorsement deals. His total puts the heavyweight $3m ahead of Hamilton.