Cashing In on and Off the Court
When most people think of the highest-paid male athletes, tennis players are often overlooked. However, the combined endorsements and prize money are well into the millions of dollars per year for the highest-profile male tennis players. In fact, five of them made the 2015 Forbes list of highest-paid athletes, and three of them made the top 25. Here are the top seven highest-paid male tennis stars, using Forbes data and various sources.
1. Roger Federer - Despite being denied his eighth Wimbledon title this year, and lacking a Grand Slam victory since his 2012 Wimbledon title, Federer (pictured above) still holds the record with 17 Grand Slam victories -- and also holds the money title with his fifth-place standing on the Forbes list at $67 million over 12 months. Federer raked in $9 million in earnings and $58 million in endorsements from high-end clients such as Rolex, Credit Suisse, Nike, and Mercedes-Benz.
2. Novak Djokovic - The winner of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2015 is arguably at the top of his game. Djokovic has appeared in Grand Slam finals in 13 of the last 18 events. He has the greatest prize money take at $17.2 million in winnings. Combined with $31 million in endorsements from companies including Seiko and Peugeot, Djokovic ranks 13th on the Forbes list with $48.2 million.
3. Rafael Nadal - Nadal has been plagued by injuries and has yet to reach the promise from his incredible year in 2013. However, Nadal is still the king of Roland Garros with nine French Open titles. He is also the 22nd highest-paid athlete on the Forbes list with a total of $32.5 million. $4.5 million of that total is prize money, while $28 million is in endorsements from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Telefonica, and Kia Motors.
4. Andy Murray - The remaining member of the "big four," Murray broke through at Wimbledon in 2013 with his victory, the first UK native to win the title since 1936. Murray's take for the Forbes list is $22.3 million, composed of $6.3 million in winnings and $16 million in endorsements from Under Armour, Standard Life, and Head. That impressive total still puts him behind the top female tennis star.
5. Kei Nishikori- Nishikori is the only Japanese player ever to reach the top ten in the world tennis rankings. Nishikori has 14 endorsements including Delta Airlines, Uniqlo, Wilson, Adidas, Jaguar, and Tag Heuer. His endorsement take is $15 million, raising his earnings total to $19.5 million.
6. Stan Wawrinka - The winner of the 2015 French Open, Wawrinka is rising to the upper echelon of men's tennis. He lags far behind his Swiss countryman Federer with "only" about $4 million in earnings on the court, but also has a $20 million endorsement deal through 2018 with Yonex apparel. His earnings over the same period as the Forbes list (June 1, 2014 to June 1 2015) are likely in the $12 million-$14 million range.
7. Tomas Berdych - The details of Berdych's H&M endorsement contract were not made public, but we have him in the seventh slot. He is 6th on the ATP prize winnings list at $2.4 million and his 2013 contract was presumably enough of a raise to peel him away from the deep pockets of Nike.
As much as these prime athletes make from their on-court endeavors, remember where the real money comes from -- winning the off-court battle of endorsements