Despite inching closer and closer to retirement, the 38-year-old, 20-time Grand Slam champion — currently ranked fourth in the ATP — topped Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s highest-paid athletes of the past year, collecting $106.3 million in pre-tax earnings. Federer, who placed fifth in earnings in 2019, is the first tennis player to top the list since it was first featured in 1990.
Though Federer — who has won just three majors since 2012 — collected a relatively modest $6.3 in winnings on the court, the Swiss icon brought home $100 million in endorsement deals and appearance fees.
Federer, a longtime Nike spokesman, signed a $300 million deal with Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo in 2018, helping him become the only athlete besides Tiger Woods to earn $100 million from sponsorships in one year.
“His brand is pristine, which is why those that can afford to align with him clamor to do so,” University of Southern California sports business professor David Carter told Forbes.
Multiple international soccer stars came close to taking the top spot, with Cristiano Ronaldo ranking second ($105 million), followed by Lionel Messi ($104 million) and Neymar ($95.5 million). Ronaldo and Messi placed first three of the previous four years.
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