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Federer overtakes Messi as world’s highest paid athlete; Osaka tops female list

Tennis star, Roger Federer has overtaken football star, Lionel Messi as the highest paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

38-year-old Federer is the first tennis player to top the annual Forbes list of the world’s highest paid athletes.

The Swiss star moved up four places after earning £86.2m in the past year – about £81m of it in endorsements.

Cristiano Ronaldo (£85m), Messi (£84m) and Neymar (£77.5m) come next, while American basketball player LeBron James (£71.5m) completes the top five.

Reax Also: Olympic deals, Grand Slam money – How Osaka became top-earning female athlete

Boxer Tyson Fury was the highest earning Briton in 11th (£46.2m) while Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton came 13th with earnings of £43.7m.

It follows Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka becoming the highest paid female athlete earlier this month.

“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.

“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.”

In the list, 22-year-old Osaka ended Serena Williams’ run of four years as the highest paid female athlete after earning £30.7m.

That was £1.15m more than earned by 38-year-old Williams.

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