Roger Federer Tops Sports Illustrated’s Earnings List
by Tom Gainey | July 21st, 2010, 2:25 pm

Roger Federer leads all non-American, international athletes in terms of total earnings according to a new “fortunate 50” earnings list released by Sports Illustrated. Through the 2009 season, the Swiss former No. 1 had collected $61,768,110 in earnings. That figure includes prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and other income.

In second place is Argentine soccer great Lionel Messi at $44 million. Third on the list was last year’s No. 1, David Beckham at $40.5 million.

Cristiano Ronaldo is fourth at $40 million and boxer Manny Pacquiao is fifth at $38 million.

Federer’s rival Rafael Nadal is also among the Top 10. Nadal is ninth at $27.6 million in earnings for 2009.

The 20th-ranked Maria Sharapova is the highest female on the list at $19.9 million.

Among overall athletes (American stars included), Tiger Woods leads everyone at $90.5 million in earnings. Federer does edge out Phil Mickelson’s $61.6 million to grab the No. 2 spot.

More details on the list and Tiger:

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64 Comments for Roger Federer Tops Sports Illustrated’s Earnings List

Jake Willens Says:

Fed will never win another major or get to #1 again, though.

WTF Says:

C.Ronaldo will easily surpass Federer in a few years. Maybe even one year.

Henry Says:

Sports Illustrated obviously did not do a very thorough job and I would have thought Tennis-X had their own info too.
Federer made much, much more than the amount stated. Just in prize money he made well over 53 million through the 2009 season. Add to that endorsements, appearance fees etc and the 61 million is way off.
Rafa already earned well over 27 million just in prize money until end of last year. So add to that the endorsements, appearance fees etc since his 2005 break through year and the 27.6 million figure is not even close to his career earnings.

Henry Says:

Re my above post
Just noticed SI must have meant earnings for 2009, not career earnings, or?

Tom Gainey Says:

Henry, apoligies for the confusion. I believe the earnings are just for 2009 only. So I’ve amended the post.

Ben Pronin Says:

Yeah, Henry. I think it’s just for 09.

Sean Randall Says:

Fed earned over $60 million last year alone. So much for the recession!

dari Says:

Oh, Jake, please. Thats not what this post is about, but I do think he’ll win another major.

dari Says:

Besides Tiger Woods, I always thought basketball players were the highest paid athletes. What an eye opener. $60 million, ROGER?! Holy…

Jake Willens Says:

That will be the last year Roger ever tops that list.

skeezerweezer Says:


No need to repeat the “Nostradamus” prediction on the Fed. We get it.

Polo Says:

With over 60 million in one year alone, do you think Federer needs to be consoled if he does not win any major anymore (or any tournament, for that matter)? It’s as if he does not have 16 of them yet. Federer is fine. Everybody else will have to work really hard to get to his level. All he has to do is sit back and relax and see who can get to as high a level as he has reached. When somebody else gets there, who do you think will be there to welcome him? Federer, of course! Hopefully that will happen during Federer’s lifetime.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal can get to his level. Federer should push himself to extend his slam record just a bit to make it that much more difficult for Nadal to catch up. Unlikely, but something to think about.

Polo Says:

Ben when you said “unlikely” what were you referring to? Federer extending his slam record or Nadal catching up in slam wins? And of those 2 possibilities, which has the greater probability of occuring? Wouldn’t it be easier for Federer to win one more slam as opposed to Nadal winning 8 more?

Ben Pronin Says:

While it may seem that 1 is easier to win than 8, I think it’s more likely Nadal wins the next 4 slams than Federer winning 2 of the next 4. Nadal is, in a weird kind of way, lucky that he’s so amazing on clay. He could almost easily win a couple of Grand Slams in the next few years. For Federer, he needed a good amount of time to become a contender at the French. And even more unluckily, he didn’t make any serious inroads until Nadal was already winning it.

Huh Says:

“Ben Pronin Says:

While it may seem that 1 is easier to win than 8, I think it’s more likely Nadal wins the next 4 slams than Federer winning 2 of the next 4. Nadal is, in a weird kind of way, lucky that he’s so amazing on clay. He could almost easily win a couple of Grand Slams in the next few years. For Federer, he needed a good amount of time to become a contender at the French. And even more unluckily, he didn’t make any serious inroads until Nadal was already winning it.”


Huh Says:

I somehow feel that by FO 11 end, Nadal would be sitting with 11 slams!

Huh Says:

I hope Polo that none would break Fed’s slam record during his lifetime.

Huh Says:


skeezerweezer Says:

You can only win four slams per year. You cannot go any faster than that. The “Grand Slam” has not been achieved in a calendar year by any MAN in this ERA. Not to say he cannot be done, talk to a woman named “Graf”, but it is obvioulsy one of the hardest things to do in Professional Tennis. All props to Laver.

So we have a long way to go in determining who if any will get even close to Feds achievements/records.

Fed on his way to this had a lot of skill, stamina, talent, variety of game, a bit of luck, no injuries that put him out for an extended period.

It’s not just one factor to accomplish these achievements but a combination of many, not solely one. At any event, nothing was handed to him, he had to go on the court and swing it to win it.

It will be an interesting next 2 years, and I think by then the smoke will clear and we will see Fed’s records stand even higher, that is my “Nostradamus”.

“Live long and prosper”

Polo Says:

If Nadal sweeps the next 9 slams, he will beat Roger’s record but that will not be until the end of 2012. If he slips in any of those and Federer is able to snatch at least one, then the time period for Nadal to break it will be delayed until 2013. By then, the world would have ended (according to the Mayan predictions). So go Roger, go. Win one more slam and you will hold the record forever.

Fot Says:

Roger has a lot of ‘major’ endorsements and has done several ‘English-speaking’ commercials. To me, that HELPS Roger in his off-court earnings. He’s very likable and even though he has an ‘accent’, it’s not a ‘heavy’ accent which helps in the American market. That, along with winning, has really helped Roger to get up to this level.

Hey, more power to him and the other athletes. The companies wouldn’t be paying them all this money if they were not making more themselves.

skeezerweezer Says:


I got that :)

“IF Nadal SWEEPS the next 9 slams……” That is exactly what I was hoping someone would get out of my post. Rafa has ( and he could, but a very tall order ) a lot of work cut out for him to reach Feds records, and I think for Rafa fans they should just enjoy the ride like the Fed fans did and see what happens. I think the race, if it turns out to be that, will be on after 2012 in the new “WaterWorld”, and then the game will be converted to “Water Tennis”. Two rackets, balls that bounce on water, a floating net and a lifejacket for each player.

Fot Says:

Wow, you guys are really putting a long on Rafa to think that he could ‘SWEEP” the next 9 slams! Interesting….

Polo Says:

Fot, are you taking us seriously? These exchanges about how many what will be won by who and when are just a form of tennis entertainment while passing time before the US Open. I hope most people can see the humor in that.

Polo Says:

I should have said, “Fot, you can’t be serious.”

margot Says:

Polo: I’m serious and I can see Rafa getting at least 8 more b4 he’s done, unless, of course, injury takes him out.

Polo Says:

Nadal winning 8 more slams cannot be ignored because he is very capable. But Skeeze and my exhanges are really a humorous banter (notice to the reference to 2012, Mayan prediction and Waterworld) and honestly, it does not concern me a whole lot if it happens and Roger’s record is broken.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Re: Polo’s post @ 4:34

That about says it. :) thanks for explaining…

Huh Says:

World would NOT end in 2012 IMO. However, if God tells me it will, I would enjoy so much, my break from studies! ;)

Huh Says:

I don’t know and can’t tell if Rafa would surpass Fed as the greater player, but I somehow have an eerie feeling that Rafa is gonna get the Rafa slam by winning US 10 and AO 11. And after that even, I don’t see anhyone stopping him at FO 11, not even Federer or DP, what to speak of others! Of course I somehow feel that Rafa’s tough time(momentary though) would again start after FO 11. It’s not speculation, these are rather gut-feeling kind of things. Let’s see.

Huh Says:

What Rafa does or does not is one thing, but I always would continue to believe Fed at his peak was, is and would continue to be, in my mind, peerless on grass or hard court in his era.

Huh Says:

I don’t know how to put this Fed-Rafa thing, but I would say: Fed is the better player and has the better game and is a tough champion, but Rafa, despite his relatively less talent in comparison to Fed, is a tougher champion. Both are absolutely great players though.

skeezerweezer Says:


No worries Huh, Polo and I got off bantering on something we both knew in common, and all in fun. Me thinks you’ll still be studying hard in a few years. Your career awaits :)

On a serious note, things can change rather quickly in a year. Look just a year ago and what was everyone talking about? NOT this. That is why the next 2 years IMO will be interesting how things shape up. Right now with current conditions and in the near future favors Rafa big time. But, and a big butt, ( reference to what was happening a year ago ) things can change quickly, and IMO with the second tier group of guys it will just take a little more hard work and A LOT more confidence ( like Rafa ) to be a force for the top spot. Rafa has set the bar now and looks like to me a will of force that cannot be denied. If you play him, you going to have to knock him out. NO TKO will do.
Fed will be around, but we may see more of a version 2 than the Fed everyone use to see dominating. Despite the naysayers you can’t count him out …..yet.

I think it will be a lot more interesting than some people think, especially with the Mayan calendar thrown in. Like I said, let’s talk in 2 years, I hope, I mean we will :)

grendel Says:

I see del Potro may, after all, be playing in US Open. (
Well, I think we’re all gonna be watching with eagle eyes. Is there any hint of pulling back at all? I remember feeling somewhat concerned about Murray when he came back off a long lay off. I seem to recal he got beaten fairly easily by Baggy. it took a few tourneys before it was obvious that he had not sustained permanent harm. With a very big man like delPo, one can’t help thinking serious injury is tougher to overcome. Hope this is ignorant nonsense.
Jokin’ aside, I agree with margot – at 24, Nadal has oodles of time to rack ’em up. After all, let’s say he wins another 4 French – a perfectly reasonable assumption, he cld win another 6. But let’s be cautious and say 4. Well, a little arithmetic will tell you that he then only needs…say a couple of Wimbies, a couple of Aussies, 1 US. No problemo? Meanwhile, one more for Fed? That elusive one, ooh, that can play hard to get like no cretur you never saw.
Before anyone gets cross, I think Fed richly deserves his 16. But lady luck has been with him rather than agin him, if we are candid. And lady luck is a faithless paramour. Fed’s gonna have to earn that last one like he’s never earned nothing before, mark my words. All the sweeter when it comes.
Good omen? Today, the great spin bowler from Sri Lanka got his 800th test wicket – nobody else is even close to being close – with the very last ball he will ever bowl in test cricket since, aged 38, he has now retired. The elusive one.

jane Says:

That makes sense; if Delpo has said he’d be available to help Argentina with DC semis versus France (in Sept), then it only seems logical he’d at least try to defend the USO. I hope we see some slugging from him.

grendel Says:

for some reason, I didn’t give the spin bowler’s name: Muralitharan.
yes, jane, it is greatly to be hoped we slugging of the most awesome kind from Delpo….

Anna Says:

Geez, I so don’t want to see Delpo come back at the USO. That seems like a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a kid coming back from surgery.
Remember the anxiety talk. DC would be perfect. Play a couple games and see how it goes. Look at Davy. The poor guy hasn’t gotten beyond the 2nd round since coming back at Halle. By the way, I think water tennis is something I can do!!!

I say, let Roger have the slam count. I’d love to see Rafa get another gold at the Olympics in 2012, knock the top off the MS1000’s count, and put the clay records so far out of reach it will be years before anyone touches them.

Should that happen they’ll have to talk about Roger and Rafa in the same breath.

guy Says:

fed is the no.1 and tops the atp earnings.
sharapova barely wins a thing and easily tops the wta player earnings.

what’s wrong with this picture

Kimmi Says:

coming back at the USO will be very difficult for delpo. wish him all the best.

guy Says:

people keep persisting with this idea that nadal is somehow lacking in talent compared to federer. i don’t see any basis for that in general play.

if it’s about amazing shotmaking, then just have a look at some rafa highlight reels on youtube and you’ll see plenty to match the federer reels etc.

if it’s about wearing polo shirts and looking slick, well rafa’s doing that now as well.

contador Says:


have to agree with you wholeheartedly. US Open sounds like a very bad idea to come back for delpo. what do we know. but why not try out cincy first, if he’s feeling that good? or wait until davis cup.

i have to worry about something. : )

i saw only part of the match but davy played miserable today. pretty clear davy was using hamburg to test his wrist. maybe the injury is better but the confidence of last fall certainly wasn’t there.

not knocking golubev. his backhand and footwork remind me of youhzny. congrats to him.

guy Says:

sucks for davydenko, he missed aus open,miami,indian wells in 09 and did an awesome job to still make the top 10 by winning so much towards the end of the season.

now he’s in danger of losing a hell of a lot of points in the coming months and could drop out the top 10.

skeezerweezer Says:

“guy Says:

people keep persisting with this idea that nadal is somehow lacking in talent compared to federer.”

Who says this? Please be more specific. I will go out on a limb and say that Fed has more talent in variety of shotmaking ability, let’s face it, Fed hits shots that no one has seen before, ever. But does that nillify Rafa’s talent? NO! IT’s just a different kind of talent. Rafa hits different types of amazing shots and no one will deny it’s not so much about his stokes, he has ’em, but his ability to win no matter what when he sets his mind to it. IMO his talent is in his mind. When he is confident is ok physically, the mind takes over, look out. How many times have I/we seen him down in a match like 1-5 and he hits a winner and does a fist pump like he just won the match? The guy plays EVERY point like its do or die. No need to get all sensitive. :)


skeezerweezer Says:

@Contador & Anna.

Totally agree with you on JDP. But you know athletes have stubborn heads, he is not the first. He wants to compete and maybe he is not cleared till the USO date. Who knows. IMO even if he is he should give it up and start easy and play for the Fall. Good to hear he is almost ready to play though, we need him!

skeezerweezer Says:

@ Anna

“I’d love to see Rafa get another gold at the Olympics in 2012, knock the top off the MS1000’s count, and put the clay records so far out of reach it will be years before anyone touches them.”

Interesting take on the records thing. If Rafa blows the MS1000’s out of the water and multiple winner in the Olympics no doubt he will write his own history in the books. But tennis history has soundly stated the the GS titles are the Holy Grail of tennis.

Then again, if Rafa makes a stamp on these other records maybe the historians will have to take notice?

Anna, he is your fav, enjoy the ride. I did with Fed and continue too. See where he takes you. Hopefully when his career his over you will have the weight you need to call him GOAT, or one of the greatest, which is already debatable at 24? :)

Anna Says:

Hi Skeeze,

Don’t care if he’s goat. Just would like for him to get close enough to be in the conversation. I understand GS being the holy grail but personally I think that’s to narrow of a perspective. When I was the kind of fan that just watched slams that’s what I thought as well. Now that I know more about the game it’s apparent that it’s much more complex. Or maybe I should just go back to watching slams??? Thanks for the good wishes. I appreciate. :)

Huh Says:

I also don’t want DP to take any risk by returning at USO. First of all, he needs to be fully fit, then he can sure win more than one slams on returning, he’s that good. But no return at USO please, get well first!


skeezerweezer Says:

Back at you Anna,

You are welcome as well as your posts :)

No, no if your a true fan which I know you are it’s not all about the Slams. What? Just watch tennis four times a year? No way! IMHO the game is involving and we have to grow with it. As you had mentioned, the Master series cannot be thrown out now, and they did not exist some time ago. For sure it has grown to its own relevancy.

However, for now, the Slams mean only that they are the still the most important, but should not rob the fan of seeing other great meaningful tennis during the year. Indian Wells is a great example as all the best come out to compete, I plan to be there in next year. See what happens :)

Anna Says:


I had the best time at IW this year. There’s something to be said for the comfort of the living room and the big screen tube, but it’s nothing like seeing these guys live. Berdych & Nadal were hitting the ball so hard and fast that I couldn’t even track it. Also, I had no idea that there would be tons of people from all over the world show up in the middle of the CA desert for this event. It was a party every night. I’m definitely going again next year.

Dan Martin Says:


If Nadal is at 11 slams entering Wimbledon 2011, that would imply he has won 5 consecutive slams. 16 or not, 5 in row would be the greatest achievement in the history of the sport given the depth of the fields today, the different surfaces, etc.

I have thought Rafa winning 4 in a row heading into Paris next year is a real possibility. I figured I’d wait to see if he got to 3 in a row before saying much about 4 or 5 in a row, but I do think if Rafa can get past New York and all of its obstacles that he will head into Oz with huge momentum and a huge target. Should be interesting …

manju Says:

hey nothing to worries roger s gonna win US OPEN love u roger do this n make people mum roggy commmon
do it

Skeezerweezer Says:


I already have a place to stay about 10 min from the site. Staying for 3-4 nights probably around the first weekend…..keep in touch about that? :)

Huh Says:

Dan Martin:

I seriously am not sure as to what it means when people talk about the depth of the field, there were always strong players in each era even though arguably in the open era no field has better than/equal to the one than the one that was during Borg’s time. Other than that Fed/Pete has also faced great competition at all stages and so also has Laver and all other great tennis players. It is not that only the current field is deep or best, not when you consider that even the old guys like Davydenkos, Haases and Ljubicis beat the quite best in masters or even slams !

Huh Says:

Winning 5 slams in a row though would be one of the best achievement in tennis history, that does not mean one has surpassed Fed and all other legends, coz winning 14/16 slams or 100+ titles are also great and amazing achievements. Moreover let’s not forget Laver won the calender year slams twice and uncountable great matches, competitions and titles which is also unmatched and unthinkable. Pete is also one of his kind and so is Borg and also Roger. Nobody can say with conviction who is the greatest, I certainly can’t. And I sincerely feel that Gonzales, Lew Hoad and Tilden were also absolutely wonderful players even though they have not stalked up double figure slams/stuff. Numbers are not the be all and end all of everything. All are legends! Respect to all! Nadal is also phenomenal, no denying it, he’s also one of his kind, as great as the greatest of players, in his own particularly unique way!

But if I had to bet my life on one player, it would be Laver. He seems most phenomenal, relatively speaking, with two calender year slams and some 100+ titles in his career.

Huh Says:


Moreover, the surface of 80s and 90s had much more variation than the post 2000 surfaces, so we can certainly leave the surface variation thing to rest at least. Adjusting from clay to grass to hard court today is by no means as Herculean a task as it formerly was, as simple as that!

Skeezerweezer Says:

Happy Birthday today to twins Charlene and Myla!

Huh Says:

“Skeezerweezer Says:
Happy Birthday today to twins Charlene and Myla!”

Wow, same from me too! God bless them! :P

Huh Says:

Well, sometimes things there for you to see, e.g. Nalbandian, Baghdatis, Safin, even Tsonga are better shot-makers than Nadal coz be it their forehand or backhand, they hit/appear to hit them effortlessly/with less effort in comparison to Nadal (even the drop shots particularly of Nalby & Baghdatis are just downright exquisite). They don’t need to break as much as even slightest sweat for hitting an unplayable shot at any point of time. But the same is not true of Nadal, even though he is a great great shot maker too, but he falls more in the category of Murray, who depend a little also on their speed to get to the balls and hit their trademark great shots.

Nadal, whenever he hits a FH looks like he uses so much force, similarly his BHs are also lethal and fine, but not smooth or effortless. Nadal looks like and in fact he also actually puts a lot of body and hand movement into hitting his shots, not to mention his speed of legs, which also plays at least a little, if not more, part in enabling him to hit his shots at many points of time. But in case of Federer, he can do everything with a flick of a wrist, he hits the shots effortlessly with the minimal expense of energy(similar to Safin or Nalby), unlike Nadal who spends more energy than Fed in hitting the simplest of his shots. It’s a fact!

Moreover Nadal is all about improvement, Fed is all about consistency. Fed was perfect in almost all of his shots from the moment he got into his groove. But Nadal despite always being the embodiment of single-mindedness and focus had to continue his improvement in all the departments and that’s why he’s now being viewed as a guy who has become more aggressive, but Fed’s case has always been a bit different, he has hardly improved anything about him, everything comes naturally to him without hours and hours of video analysis and practice. He doesn’t view at anybody else’s service to study its superiority in any respect, coz it is for the relatively less talented ones. That’s what is called the difference of talent. Nadal may have more talent than 99% of the tennis players, but when you look at Nalby, Safin or Fed, you have to accept, they are naturally more talented.

For example, some students are just more talented than others, great performances come naturally(I would equate these to Fed, Safin and Nalby) to them while others have to labour a lot more in comparison to them to perform nearly well(here Rafa, Murray come to mind! Some would solve maths problems just better than others while others would need practice to catch up; it is just like Fed hits most of the shots just fantastic while Nadal is trying to improve through hard work and practice and gradually becoming fantastic, the result may be looking more and more similar, but the difference in approach is there. Nadal took more time to become near good and aggressive as Fed while ‘perfect aggression mixed with caution’ was more spontaneous in Fed’s case from the very beginning.

Actually nobody had to teach Fed how to hit or improve his shots as much as Tony had to teach/help Nadal in this regard. The difference in talent was responsible for this. That’s why most people say Fed is superior than Nadal in terms of talent, looking at all this.

Huh Says:

It’s another thing that talent without hard work means underachievement, the best examples being Safin, Nalby and Tsonga.

skeezerweezer Says:


That was a interesting read. tx :)

madmax Says:

“For Federer, he needed a good amount of time to become a contender at the French”.
Ben Pronin.

Disagree Ben. Federer has always been a contender on clay, frequently being referred to as the “second best claycourter”. And I think to reach 4 finals, – so 4 years – shows consistency to me.

It will be interesting to see how the power players like delpo (when he returns), soderling, berdych, murray (he’s due) and also cilic will do at the slams. They are the new breed of players who have been biding their time and knocking on the door for ages now.

It’s all well and good, the naysayers saying that Federer will never win another slam again – no one can predict the future – but i do wonder whether federer has read all of the bad press whilst he has been on vacation and if this has made him somewhat mad and prepared to do something about it. We shall just have to wait and see.

There is no one out there who plays like the man. He has his own brand of beautiful tennis, when he is “on”.

I dont particularly like it when people such as jake, come on and start spreading the gloom in the first post. what’s the point? It’s only wishful thinking on his part and doesnt really go anywhere.

Not long to go now before the USOpen. The first time that Fed could, and I say, “could” meet rafa before a final.

Shape up Fed. Let’s get it together.

Purcell Says:

I enjoyed reading this Huh and I agree with a lot of what you say. In fact the point you make about effortlessness is precisely why I enjoy watching Roger and the great Nalbandian. Dare I suggest James Blake falls into the category too and there are others too numerous to list. I think that when players put so much effort into their play (and this can be manifested in a number of ways, visible and audible), people often mistake it for aggression/determination/strength, call it what you will, when all it actually is……is effort. This subject interests me greatly and I’m in danger of getting carried away with comparisons of weight lifters and ballet dancers so I’ll stop there as I have to sort out the greenhouse. Cheers.

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