With Roger Federer finally exiting the stage, a new No. 1 leads a top ten that made a combined $196 million over the past 12 months.
By Brett Knight, Forbes Staff
Since 2007, Roger Federer has reigned as the world’s highest-paid tennis player. But while the 42-year-old Swiss ace is still collecting an estimated $95 million a year, his retirement last September means that one of his old rivals now wears the crown as the sport’s top earner—with an heir apparent looking increasingly ready to seize the throne.
Novak Djokovic is the new champion of Forbes’ annual tennis earnings list, hauling in an estimated $38.4 million (before taxes and agents’ fees) over the past 12 months. No other active player can match his total on the court ($13.4 million from prize money) or off the court (an estimated $25 million from endorsement deals, appearance fees, and licensing and memorabilia income). But Carlos Alcaraz, who outlasted Djokovic in an epic Wimbledon final in July to claim his second Grand Slam title, is not far behind by either measure. The 20-year-old Spanish phenom raked in $31.4 million over the past 12 months, including $11.4 million on the court and an estimated $20 million off it, to land at No. 2.
That is a big raise from last year, when Alcaraz made his debut on the list at No. 10 with an estimated total of $10.9 million—and then won the U.S. Open the following month. In the women’s game, Iga Swiatek, who has also won two Grand Slams in the past year, made a similar jump, from outside the top ten all the way to No. 3 this year, with an estimated $22.4 million in earnings. She is joined by three other first-timers: Coco Gauff (No. 7, $15.2 million), Casper Ruud (No. 8, $14.4 million) and Jessica Pegula (No. 10, $10.9 million).
Like Federer, 41-year-old Serena Williams was deemed ineligible for this year’s ranking after her apparent retirement last year, and her 43-year-old sister, Venus Williams, falls out of the top ten, along with 33-year-old Kei Nishikori. The reshuffling drops the average age of the top ten below 26, from over 31 in 2022.
The new faces also push the number of women in the top ten up to five, from four last year, matching the highest total in the 16-year history of the ranking. That is no small feat. Female players generally have fewer and less lucrative marketing opportunities available to them, and while men and women receive equal prize money at the sport’s four Grand Slam events, there are still some pay disparities at smaller tournaments. For instance, this month’s Western & Southern Open outside Cincinnati featured a prize pool of $6.6 million for the men, with Djokovic taking home $1,019,335 as the singles champion; the women, meanwhile, played for $2.8 million, with Gauff receiving $454,500 for her singles title.
In total, the ten highest-paid players amassed $196 million over the past 12 months. That figure represents a 38% drop from last year’s $316 million total—and a 43% decline from 2020’s record $343 million—but the loss of Federer and Williams, with a combined $125 million in earnings on the 2022 list, accounts for most of the difference. And with eight of this year’s top ten still under 30, this group of rising tennis stars is just getting started.
THE WORLD’S HIGHEST-PAID TENNIS PLAYERS 2023
#1. $38.4 million
AGE: 36 | NATIONALITY: Serbia | ON-COURT: $13.4 mil • OFF-COURT: $25 mil
When the U.S. Open begins on August 28, Djokovic will be back at Flushing Meadows for the first time in two years, after missing the 2022 tournament (as well as that year’s Australian Open) because of his decision to forgo the Covid-19 vaccine. While the 36-year-old Serb fell to Carlos Alcaraz in a five-set thriller at Wimbledon in July and has surrendered the ATP Tour’s No. 1 ranking, he held off Alcaraz in this month’s Western & Southern Open final, and his triumphs in the year’s first two majors gave him 23 Grand Slam singles titles for his career, a men’s record. Djokovic, who bolstered his endorsement portfolio with the addition of Waterdrop beverages in January, has career pre-tax earnings of more than $510 million, according to Forbes estimates, including an ATP-best $172 million in prize money.
#2. $31.4 million
AGE: 20 | NATIONALITY: Spain | ON-COURT: $11.4 mil • OFF-COURT: $20 mil
Alcaraz enters the U.S. Open as the tournament’s reigning champion, the most recent major winner after his Wimbledon victory and the sport’s top-ranked player—all at age 20. With his nationality and his reputation on clay courts naturally generating comparisons to Rafael Nadal, sponsors (including Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein) are rushing to sign a player they believe could similarly dominate the sport in the years to come. Alcaraz has also been able to raise his appearance fees as he emerges as an attendance draw, and he was scheduled to face Nadal in a lucrative exhibition match in Las Vegas in March that was canceled because of injuries to both players. But Alcaraz revealed last month that he has another potential pairing in mind for the two players: joining forces on a doubles team at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
#3. $22.4 million
AGE: 22 | NATIONALITY: Poland | ON-COURT: $8.4 mil • OFF-COURT: $14 mil
Swiatek’s French Open victory in June gave her four career Grand Slam singles titles, tying her with Naomi Osaka for second among active women’s players, behind Venus Williams (who has seven). The 22-year-old Polish star has also been the WTA Tour’s top-ranked player for more than 70 straight weeks. (Only nine women’s players have spent more time at No. 1 across their entire careers.) Away from the court, Swiatek has been building out her endorsements after signing last September with powerful agency IMG, adding deals this year with Oshee sports drinks, On shoes and apparel and Visa.
#4. $20.1 million
AGE: 27 | NATIONALITY: Russia | ON-COURT: $7.1 mil • OFF-COURT: $13 mil
Medvedev, who resides in Monaco, has been able to successfully walk the marketing tightrope that Russian-born players have faced since their country’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The 2021 U.S. Open champion and former world No. 1 unveiled a signature logo in January that appears on a line of apparel and shoes from Lacoste, one of his nine long-term sponsors. Medvedev has also started working with RawQ, a brand of energy bars cofounded by his wife, Daria.
#5. $15.5 million
AGE: 37 | NATIONALITY: Spain | ON-COURT: $1.5 mil • OFF-COURT: $14 mil
After a 2022 season that featured two Grand Slam titles, Nadal has been sidelined since this year’s Australian Open with a hip injury that required surgery in June. The 37-year-old Spaniard has said 2024 will likely be his final year of tennis, which would bring to an end an incredible career that has included 22 major titles and, as with Djokovic, more than $510 million in pre-tax earnings. (Only Djokovic has earned more than Nadal’s $135 million in prize money.) Tennis’ sponsorship system—in which apparel sponsors like Nike and racket sponsors like Babolat typically reduce their rates for players who fall in the rankings or miss big tournaments with injuries—means Nadal is likely earning considerably less this year than in 2022. Still, he recently began a partnership with Subway, appearing in ads alongside NBA star Stephen Curry, and in January, he invested in the E1 Series, a new electric raceboat league.
#6. $15.3 million
AGE: 20 | NATIONALITY: Britain | ON-COURT: $0.3 mil • OFF-COURT: $15 mil
Raducanu is just returning to the practice court after having surgery on both hands as well as her ankle this year. She will also have a new coach after parting ways with her fifth in two years in June as she tries to get back to the form that saw her win an unexpected title at the 2021 U.S. Open. That championship run at age 18 came with a flood of endorsements—including Dior, HSBC and Porsche—and even when she’s not playing, she can offer sponsors more than three million followers across Instagram, Facebook and X. A 2022 report by data firm SponsorUnited found she had the highest average engagement on her branded posts of any female tennis player.
#7. $15.2 million
AGE: 19 | NATIONALITY: United States | ON-COURT: $3.2 mil • OFF-COURT: $12 mil
Gauff won the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., this month—her first career singles title on U.S. soil and the biggest of her young career—and she followed it up with an even bigger victory at the Western & Southern Open outside Cincinnati. Perhaps a magical run at the U.S. Open is next for the 19-year-old American, who is ranked sixth in the world in both singles and doubles and has already appeared in a Grand Slam final, at last year’s French Open. Gauff has taken a slow-and-steady approach to building her business alongside her agents at Team8 and her parents—father Corey, who coaches her, and mother Candi, who homeschooled her—but she has added three partnerships this year, with accounting firm Baker Tilly, Bose and UPS.
#8. $14.4 million
AGE: 24 | NATIONALITY: Norway | ON-COURT: $6.4 mil • OFF-COURT: $8 mil
Ruud’s 2022 was so good—with three tournament titles plus runner-up finishes at the French Open, the U.S. Open and the ATP Finals—that his still relatively strong 2023 has felt like a bit of a letdown. Don’t count out the 24-year-old in Flushing Meadows, though, particularly after he made a second straight appearance in the final at Roland-Garros in June. This year, Ruud became a global ambassador for Samsonite and tacked on sponsor deals with two Scandinavian brands: Vitamin Well beverages and SalMar farmed salmon.
#9. $12.1 million
AGE: 25 | NATIONALITY: Japan | ON-COURT: $0.1 mil • OFF-COURT: $12 mil
Osaka hasn’t played a competitive match since September 2022, first because of injuries and then because of pregnancy, but after giving birth in July, the 25-year-old is aiming to return to the court at the Australian Open in January. She wasted no time getting back to training: She was seen doing drills in Los Angeles just 15 days after her daughter was born. Osaka, who was raised in the U.S. but was born in Japan and represents that country internationally, earned more than $50 million in each of the last two years, and while her extended hiatus has knocked that number down, she still has a long list of corporate partners. That includes Victoria’s Secret, which announced a design collaboration with her in February, and new addition Bobbie baby formula. And in April, her media company, Hana Kuma, raised $5 million.
#10. $10.9 million
AGE: 29 | NATIONALITY: United States | ON-COURT: $4.9 mil • OFF-COURT: $6 mil
Pegula is the epitome of a late bloomer, shooting from No. 83 in the WTA Tour’s singles rankings three years ago to No. 3—the top American, three spots ahead of doubles partner Coco Gauff. Off the court, the 29-year-old is the founder of skincare line Ready 24 and signed with talent agency GSE Worldwide in November to expand a sponsor portfolio that includes Adidas, Yonex and Ready Nutrition. The daughter of billionaire Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, she also published an essay in the Players’ Tribune in February about her mother’s long recovery from a cardiac arrest last year.
On-court earnings figures reflect prize money collected over the last 12 months, dating to the 2022 U.S. Open. Off-court earnings estimates are determined through conversations with industry insiders and reflect income from endorsements, appearances, licensing and memorabilia, as well as cash returns from any businesses in which the athlete has a significant interest. Roger Federer and Serena Williams were excluded from the ranking after their retirement announcements last year.
Forbes does not include investment income such as interest payments or dividends but does account for payouts from equity stakes athletes have sold. Forbes does not deduct for taxes or agents’ fees.
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