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May 29, 2020, 7:54 p.m. EDT

Naomi Osaka overtakes Serena Williams as the highest paid female athlete in the world

Roger Federer is the highest paid athlete in the world for the first time, with over $106 million in earnings this year, according to Forbes’s annual list

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By Weston Blasi, MarketWatch


Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Naomi Osaka plays at Wimbledon in 2019.

Forbes released its annual list of the highest paid athletes on the planet, and some tennis players showed how lucrative the sport can be — especially when it comes to endorsements.

Naomi Osaka, 22, is the first female athlete on the list at no. 29, overtaking fellow tennis player Serena Williams as the highest paid female athlete in the world. Osaka earned $37.4 million thanks in part to deals with Nike, Nissan Motor and Procter & Gamble /zigman2/quotes/202894679/composite PG +1.15% . Williams, 38, is the only other woman on the list; she brought in $36 million, and is no. 33 on Forbes’s list.

And Roger Federer, 38, tops the entire list of highest paid athletes for the first time, with $106 million in earnings both on and off the court. Forbes says he has “the best endorsement portfolio in sports,” including deals with Uniqlo, Mercedes-Benz /zigman2/quotes/208157843/composite DMLRY +0.39% , Credit Suisse, as well as 10 others.

Soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), Lionel Messi ($104 million) and Neymar ($95 million) are right behind Federer with Los Angeles Laker star LeBron James ($88.2 million) rounding out the top five. Some of the top brands that helped these athletes get into the top five were /zigman2/quotes/203439053/composite NKE +1.03%   Pepsi /zigman2/quotes/208744353/composite PEP +1.32%  , Adidas /zigman2/quotes/203671926/composite ADDYY +0.13%  , and Mastercard /zigman2/quotes/207581792/composite MA +0.37%  .

Here’s the list of the top 10 highest paid athletes , according to Forbes:

1) Roger Federer (tennis): $106.3 million

2) Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer): $105 million

3) Lionel Messi (soccer): $104 million

4) Neymar (soccer): $95.5 million

5) LeBron James (basketball): $88.2 million

6) Stephen Curry (basketball): $74.4 million

7) Kevin Durant (basketball): $63.9 million

8) Tiger Woods (golf): $62.3 million

9) Kirk Cousins (football): $60.5 million

10) Carson Wentz (football): $59.1 million

The youngest athlete on the list is 19-year old NBA star Zion Williamson at no. 57 with over $27 million in earnings.

Basketball players had 35 athletes in the top 100 — the next highest is football with 31 athletes, and soccer with 14 athletes.

The 100 top athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion this year, a 9% drop from 2019 as the coronavirus stopped many sporting events throughout the world.

Unlike salaries from soccer, baseball, and basketball, player salaries for football player were not impacted by the coronavirus because the NFL season has not yet started.

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Weston Blasi is a reporter. You can follow him on Twitter @WestonBlasi.

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