AAP Tennis

Federer first tennis star to top rich list

By AAP Newswire

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 $US106 million ($A159 million) thanks to an extensive portfolio of investments which brought in stg81 million (SA150 million)- dwarfing his on-court earnings.

Federer ranked just ahead of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, who Forbes said earned stg85 million ($A157 million), and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi made stg84 million (155.5 million).

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.

Boxer Tyson Fury was the highest-ranked Brit on the list in 11th place with earnings of stg46.2 million ($A85.5 million), while six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was 13th with stg43.7 million ($A80.9 million).

The highest paid female athlete, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, was 29th overall with earnings of stg30.7 million ($A56.8 million).

Forbes said the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world had collectively raked in stg2.95 billion over the past year ($A4.4 billion), 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 $US100 million ($A150 million) a year for the tennis great."