Roger Federer tops Forbes’ richest athletes list; LeBron James No. 5

Roger Federer is shown during the Australian Open in January
Roger Federer, shown during the Australian Open in January, had more than $100 million in earnings through endorsements and appearance fees in the last year.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

While Roger Federer topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes for the first time, Lakers star LeBron James ranked No. 5.

The legendary Swiss tennis player, who has won an unprecedented 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, had $106.3 million in total earnings in the last 21 months, the magazine reported. Federer becomes the first tennis player to top the list since Forbes began tracking athletes’ earnings in 1990.

Federer ranked No. 1 because of his endorsements and appearance fees, which surpassed $100 million, according to Forbes. James’ $60 million in endorsements boosted his earnings to $88.2 million for the last year.


Soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar ranked second through fourth, with NBA stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant at sixth and seventh behind James. Tiger Woods was at No. 8 while NFL quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz were ninth and 10th, respectively.

Serena Williams was one of two women’s tennis players in the top 100. She ranked No. 33 at $36 million while Naomi Osaka made a female record of $37.4 million to rank No. 29.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was the only baseball player to make the top 100, landing at No. 57, down from 19 last year because of the postponement of the season due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Athletes from 21 countries and 10 sports comprised the top 100 this year. Heavyweight boxers landed in three of the top 20 spots: Tyson Fury at No. 11, Anthony Joshua at 19 and Deontay Wilder at 20. Mixed martial artist Conor McGregor was No. 16.