Roger Federer is the world’s highest-paid athlete for 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic knocked footballer 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 $106.3m (£86.3m) in the last 12 months, including $100m (£81.2m) via endorsements, to move up four places and become the first player from his sport to top the list.
Soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo (£85.3m), Messi (£84.5m) and Neymar (£77.6m) and American basketball player LeBron James (£71.6m) 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 $100m a year for the tennis great.”