Roger Federer becomes first tennis player to top Forbes’ rich list

Roger Federer has become the first tennis player to top Forbes' list of the best-paid athletes in world sport as overall earnings dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Swiss star was ranked first with earnings of 106million US dollars (£86.2million) thanks to an extensive portfolio of investments which brought in £81m – dwarfing his on-court earnings.

Federer ranked just ahead of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, who Forbes said earned £85m, and Lionel Messi, third with £84m.

Paris St Germain's Neymar was fourth, ahead of NBA stars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Tiger Woods was ranked eighth with NFL quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz completing the top 10.

Forbes' highest-paid athletes list
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Forbes' highest-paid athletes list
File photo dated 14-07-2019 of Roger Federer.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus in action during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Juventus and Atletico Madrid. Juventus won 1-0 at Juventus Stadium on November 26, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Alberto Gandolfo/Pacific Press/Sipa USA)
File photo dated 03-10-2018 of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
Neymar of PSG during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Borussia Dortmund and Paris-Saint Germain at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany on February 18, 2020 (Photo by Andrew SURMA/ SIPA USA).
File photo dated 18-07-2012 of Lebron James.
Mar 5, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter of the game against the Toronto Raptors at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
Oct 18, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) before the game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
May 24, 2020; Hobe Sound, FL, USA; Tiger Woods and former NFL player Peyton Manning read a putt on the sixth green during The Match: Champions for Charity golf round at the Medalist Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Handout Photo by Getty Images for The Match via USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throw a ball during NFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
JAN 05, 2020 : Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) drops back to pass early in the first during the NFC wild card matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.(Credit Image: © John Middlebrook/CSM/Sipa USA)
File photo dated 21-02-2020 of Tyson Fury.
File photo dated 14-07-2019 of Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory with the crowd after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Towcester.
File photo dated 1-07-2019 of Naomi Osaka during her match against Yulia Putintseva on day one of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon.

Boxer Tyson Fury was the highest-ranked Brit on the list in 11th place with earnings of £46.2m, while six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was 13th with £43.7m.

The highest paid female athlete, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, was 29th overall with earnings of £30.7m.

Tyson Fury and Mike Tyson file photo
Tyson Fury was the highest-ranked Brit on the list in 11th place (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Forbes said the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world had collectively raked in £2.95bn over the past year, nine per cent down on the figure from 2019 as the postponement or cancellation of several events took a significant bite.

"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, a 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 US dollars a year for the tennis great."

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