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Roger Federer beats Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi to top of sport's rich list

Roger Federer beats Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi to top of sport's rich list
© Reuters
The Swiss star earned 106million US dollars (£86.2m) over the past year, just ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (£85m) and Lionel Messi (£84m).

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.

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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