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Okay, it’s not all about the money, but…

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 14:35

In case you’ve been under a rock, we have some bad news – it’s not been a good year for Roger Federer.

He’s endured his worst season of results since 2002, was dismantled by Rafael Nadal in Paris and outgunned on grass by the Spaniard at Wimbledon, then last week he lost his No.1 status after over four years at the top of the men’s game.

When it comes to the biggest bank account, Federer’s still top dog

But when it comes to the biggest bank account, Federer is still top dog – and by a distance. According to Forbes Magazine, Federer’s earnings over the past 12 months were $35 million, almost twice the season haul of new world No.1 Nadal, who earned an paltry $18 million.

The Swiss maestro took home $9 million in prize money in 2007, but the bulk of his income – $26 million – came through appearance fees and from sponsorship deals with the likes of Gillette, Mercedes-Benz and Wilson.

His biggest payday comes from Nike, who re-signed Federer earlier this year to a 10-year contract that could potentially be the largest in tennis history. So what makes Fed such a draw for sponsors?

Well, there’s the tennis. Federer has won 55 tournaments in his career across 17 countries and is a global brand. But on top of that, the Swiss is a perfect gentleman and a superb ambassador for the game. He is fluent in English, French and German.

He’s also willing to play away from the Tour. Federer played his childhood hero Pete Sampras in exhibition matches in three cities across Asia and a fourth match at Madison Square Garden, New York, taking home $1 million per match.

Forbes’ top ten tennis rich list looked at earnings during 2007, including prize money, endorsement deals, exhibition and appearance fees and sponsor bonuses. Altogether, the top ten scooped $159 million, with prize money accounting for $37 million, just 23% of their total earnings.

Five men and five women made the cut.

Sandwiched between Federer and third-ranked Nadal is Maria Sharapova, the world’s highest-paid female athlete with $26 million. Sharapova burst onto the scene in 2004 when she won Wimbledon at 17 years old, and has won two more Grand Slam tournaments.

Wearing Nike on-court and playing with a Prince racket, her most recent sponsorship deals include Sony and jewellery-makers Tiffany.

Tied for fourth on the list are a trio of Americans: Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, each earning $15 million in 2007. Their biggest paydays come from their sportswear deals. Roddick sports Lacoste, Serena wears Nike, while Venus has her own tennis line through Steve & Barry’s.

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