Roger Federer has come home first on the annual Forbes magazine list of the world’s highest-earning sportsmen, with the Swiss icon trousering $US106.3 million in total earnings last season.

He is the first tennis player to achieve the annual symbolic honour since it debuted in 1990.

The 38-year-old had previously never before been able to nudge past footballers Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million) and Lionel Messi ($104 million), who stand second and third in the most recent ranking.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka surpassed Serena Williams on the women’s money list with her $37.4 million the highest ever earned by any female athlete according to the business publication.

Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams in the women’s money list. Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

Osaka’s figure beats the historic best achieved by Maria Sharapova of $29.7 million five years ago.

Serena Williams, table-topper for the past four years, fell to second in the current standings on $36 million.

It is the tenth consecutive year that a tennis player has finished atop the women’s money list; the honours have been previously shared between Sharapova and Williams.

Federer is right at home with his top ranking as tennis pauses to let the COVID-19 pandemic pass, with tournaments not due to start until at least August 1.

in 2019, the 20-time Grand Slam champion took away $6.3 million in prize money and $100 million from his blue-riband list fo sponsors which include Rolex, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, Wilson and $30 million per year on a 10-year contract with Japan’s Uniqlo clothing company. 

He also gets recurring income from other firms in his 13-strong stable, including Barilla pasta,, Moet & Chandon and Rimowa luggage.

Federer also earns income from his TEAM8 management firm which stages  the Laver Cup; he also commands a fee of at least $1 million for exhibition appearances.

Much of his income is directed towards his personal foundation which has raised millions in aid of poor children in his mother’s native South Africa.


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