Wimbledon kicks off Monday without two of the biggest stars in the sport in Roger Federer and Naomi Osaka, who are both home recovering from injuries. But the tennis aces continue to be huge draws for sponsors.
Federer ($85.7 million) and Osaka ($53.2 million) are the highest-paid tennis players in the world, thanks to deep rosters of endorsement partners, with both players tied to more than a dozen brands. Prize money represented only 1.4% of their combined earnings over the past 12 months.
Players will compete for $50 million (£40 million) in prize money at the All England Club. It is a record tally overall, but not so for the winner, as Wimbledon continues the recent trend at majors to beef up prize money for earlier rounds of the events. The men’s and women’s champions will each pocket $2.5 million (£2 million). The paydays are the same as what the champions received in 2016, but the overall total is up 44% since then.
Federer, 40, has been the highest-paid tennis player for much of the past two decades, inheriting the crown after Andre Agassi retired in 2006. Partners pay the 20-time major champ an estimated $85 million annually—behind only LeBron James across all sports. His biggest endorsement is with Japanese apparel brand, Uniqlo, which signed him to a 10-year, $300 million pact in 2018 that pays him whether he is active, injured or retired.
Fed’s career earnings, including prize money, endorsements, bonuses, royalties and appearance fees, topped the $1 billion mark last year. He is the first tennis player to reach 10-figures. Sportico’s earnings estimates for the top 10 tennis players are before taxes and agent commissions and include all income, outside of investment income, for the 12 months ending May 31.
Osaka took control of her off-court game this year by leaving sports agency giant IMG, a division of Endeavor, to launch her own agency, Evolve, which is stylized as EVOLVE. “I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” Osaka said in an email last month. “Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”
Her partner in the firm is agent Stuart Duguid, who navigated Osaka’s career at IMG and helped her become the world’s highest-paid female athlete after she broke through with back-to-back major titles, starting with the 2018 U.S. Open.
Osaka has a bevy of cash-rich sponsorship deals from Nike, Mastercard, Workday, Levi’s and others, but the four-time major winner has increasingly turned her attention to equity deals and building her own businesses. She holds stakes in roughly a dozen brands she works with, including Hyperice, Sweetgreen, Modern Health, FTX and Autograph, where she was an early investor and advisory board member. She is the founder and CEO of KINLO, a start-up sun care brand, that became available in 2,500 Walmart stores last month. The latest is her own media company, Hana Kuma, in partnership with The SpringHill Company, which is owned by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
Half the top 10 will miss Wimbledon, with Kei Nishikori, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev joining Federer and Osaka on the sidelines. Nishikori and Zverev are recovering from injuries, while world No. 1 Medvedev was dinged by Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian players from competing in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ban caused the ATP and WTA to remove “ranking points” from Wimbledon for 2022 to avoid penalizing those same Russian players in the world rankings.
The top earner in England is Serena Williams, who has not played a singles tournament since a hamstring injury forced her from Wimbledon in 2021. She has won the event seven times, with the last victory in 2016. The 40-year-old earned only $270,000 in prize money during our scoring period but banked an estimated $35 million off the court from sponsors.
The top 10 earners in tennis made an estimated $318 million over the past 12 months, up 6% from last year; only $38 million of the total was from prize money.
The World's Highest-Paid Tennis Players
1. Roger Federer: $85.7 million
Prize money: $724,000; Off-court: $85 million
Federer is a big backer of Swiss sneaker brand On. He invested in 2019 as part of an endorsement agreement after his split from Nike and holds an estimated 3% of the company’s shares. In September, the stock soared 46% on its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, but it has fallen back to earth, off 50% since its high, to a recent $19.
2. Naomi Osaka: $53.2 million
Prize money: $1.2 million; Off-court: $52 million
Osaka left IMG after her contract expired at the end of 2021 because she wanted more flexibility in the partnerships she could enter. Duguid says the goal is to build Naomi’s business from $50 million a year to $150 million a year. Evolve added its first client this month, as Nick Kyrgios joined the firm.
3. Serena Williams: $35.3 million
Prize money: $270,000; Off-court: $35 million
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has also won 16 major titles in doubles, 14 with sister Venus, along with a pair of mixed doubles titles. Williams has increasingly focused her time on her early-stage venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which has invested in more than 60 companies. The firm raised more than $100 million for its inaugural fund, announced this year.
4. Rafael Nadal: $28.9 million
Prize money: $3.9 million; Off-court: $25 million
Nadal's bank account got a boost with his Australian Open title, which carried a $2 million winner’s check and bonuses from sponsors, like Nike. He backed up the win this month with his 14th French Open crown, which finished outside our earnings scoring period. Nadal has earned roughly $500 million on and off the court during this career, including $131 million in prize money.
5. Novak Djokovic: $28.2 million
Prize money: $8.2 million; Off-court: $20 million
Djokovic’s earnings were boosted in 2021 by his three major titles but took a dive in 2022. Peugeot and UKG both decided not to renew their lucrative “patch” partnerships with Djokovic after his controversial ban from Australia in January over COVID vaccinations. His remaining sponsors are Lacoste, Asics, Head, Hublot and Raiffeisen Bank. His $157 million in career prize money is tops in tennis.
6. Emma Raducanu: $26.2 million
Prize money: $3.2 million; Off-court: $23 million
The 19-year-old is the biggest mover on the list, following her breakthrough 2021 U.S. Open win, the first time a qualifier won a Grand Slam in the Open Era. Nike was already in the fold, but she added multi-million-dollar agreements with HSBC, Tiffany, British Airways, Christian Dior, Vodafone, Porsche and Evian.
7. Kei Nishikori: $19.7 million
Prize money: $739,000; Off-court: $19 million
Injuries have plagued Nishikori in recent years, but he is still a popular marketing force in his native Japan. He is the only male player representing an Asian country to make a Grand Slam final (2014 U.S. Open). His most lucrative endorsement deal is with Uniqlo, and other partners include: Wilson, Jaguar, Airweave, Japan Airlines, Nike and Wowow
8. Daniil Medvedev: $19.6 million
Prize money: $7.6 million; Off-court: $12 million
Medvedev triggered sponsor bonuses with his 2021 U.S. Open win and rise to No. 1 in the world for the first time in February. Lacoste locked him up in late 2020 with a massive five-year contract extension. His other sponsors are Tecnifibre, Bovet, BMW, Tinkoff and HyperX.
9. Alexander Zverev: $10.8 million
Prize money: $7.3 million; Off-court: $3.5 million
Last year, Zverev became the first German man to win an Olympic gold medal in tennis for singles. His $32 million in career prize money ranks seventh all time. Zverev, 25, is the only player under 30 in the top 10 for prize money.
10. Stefanos Tsitsipas: $10.3 million
Prize money: $5.3 million; Off-court: $5 million
In 2021, Tsitsipas became the first Greek tennis player to reach a Grand Slam final. He lost that French Open final, but sponsors have been attracted to the 23-year-old rising star who is currently ranked sixth in the world. He has endorsement deals with Wilson, Adidas, Red Bull, Rolex and Comlux.