Swiss tennis great Roger Federer who became the first from his sport to top Forbes' list of highest paid athletes has said that he's embarrassed when his earnings get printed in the papers.
“Maybe it’s good for tennis that we can compete with football, boxing, Formula 1 and basketball, where the wages are incredible. But I’m rather embarrassed when it’s in the papers.” Federer said.
With an estimated $106.3 million earned over the past 12 months, Federer edged out Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from the top spot.
The factors that went into Forbes' calculation were athletes' revenue, including prize money, salaries, contract bonuses, endorsements, royalties, and appearance fees from June 1, 2019, until June 1, 2020.
A key factor that went into Federer edging out the football stars was that the latter had to take heavy salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.
The three athletes immediately below Federer are all football players with Ronaldo on second with estimated earnings of $105 million. His arch rival and Argentine great Lionel Messi is third with an estimated $104 million while Brazil's Neymar comes fourth with $95.5 million.
NBA stars came next in the list with Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James earning $88.2 million, Golden State Warriors all-star Stephen Curry with $74.4 million, Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant with an estimated $63.9 million.
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is the highest paid female athlete with $37.4 million. She however comes only 29th in the overall rankings. US tennis great Serena Williams comes 33rd with $36 million.
Federer expects to be at 100 per cent ahead of next season considering he was able to get a long break from the game due to coronavirus pandemic.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion revealed he underwent couple of knee surgeries in the last two months and spent majority of the time recuperating from it in his home nation.
"For me, it's been very nice to be in Switzerland for as long as I have been since the lockdown," Federer was quoted as saying by Tennis World.
"For the last 25 years or so, I have been traveling a lot, never spending two consecutive months at home; now, we have been in Switzerland for four or five months, enjoying ourselves.
"The life quality in Switzerland is great, now we have summer and the people who spend time outside, just like we do. The last couple of months were dominated by two knee surgeries. I had to take step by step, going with the rehab and slow recovery," he added.
With recovery underway, Federer expects himself to return to full fitness before the 2021 season. Federer had earlier announced via his Twitter handle in June that he had to undergo an 'additional arthroscopic procedure' on his knee that will see him miss the revamped 2020 tennis calendar.
"I must say I feel much better already, I'm not at the level where I can play tennis fully yet, but I'm confident about being at 100% ahead of the next season," he said.
With inputs from agencies