'Roger Federer is the perfect pitchman for companies'
"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.
"Roger 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."
The veteran tennis ace moved up four places after earning £86.2m in the past year - about £81m of it in endorsements. Footballers Cristiano Ronaldo (£85m), Messi (£84m) and Neymar (£77.5m) come next. Meanwhile, American basketball player LeBron James (£71.5m) completes the top five.
Salaries and endorsement income are headed for precipitous falls: Badenhausen
Badenhausen highlighted how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the world's wealthiest athletes.
"The global health crisis proves that when the economy fails, even the world's wealthiest athletes take a big hit," added Badenhausen.
"Salaries and endorsement income have skyrocketed the past decade, but both are headed for precipitous falls, as revenues plummet for major sports leagues and companies tighten their marketing budgets."