Data: Forbes; Table: Axios Visuals

The world's top 100 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion this year, which is down 9% from last year due to the coronavirus and marks the first decline since 2016, per Forbes' latest ranking.

Roger Federer took the No. 1 spot, edging past Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to become the first tennis player to top the rankings. He drew $100 million in endorsements from Uniqlo, Mercedes-Benz and others.

  • Naomi Osaka (#29) and Serena Williams (#33) both made the top 100, the first time since 2016 that multiple women were featured (Williams and Maria Sharapova).
  • Athletes from 21 countries made the cut, with the U.S. leading the way (68), followed by the U.K. (5), Spain (4), France (3), Brazil (2), Germany (2) and Japan (2). 14 other countries had one athlete each.

The big picture: "While more NBA players made the list than any other sport, NFL players had the best year as a group thanks to the season's late-summer start that has left them unaffected by the pandemic," Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen writes.

  • "In contrast, MLB players were the hardest hit following the postponement of Opening Day in March: only one professional baseball player, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, made the cut, down from 15 in 2019."

Sport-by-sport breakdown:

  • Basketball: 35
  • Football: 31
  • Soccer: 14
  • Tennis: 6
  • Boxing: 4
  • Golf: 4
  • Racing: 3
  • Baseball: 1
  • MMA: 1
  • Cricket: 1

Go deeper

Updated Sep 1, 2020 - Sports

Naomi Osaka wears Breonna Taylor mask at U.S. Open

Tennis star Naomi Osaka said Monday night after wearing a mask bearing the name "Breonna Taylor" during her win over fellow Japanese player Misaki Doi she plans to highlight other names during the U.S. Open this tournament.

What she's saying: Osaka said after the match that she has seven face coverings with names in total. "It's quite sad that seven masks isn't enough for the amount of names," she said. "So hopefully I'll get to the final and you can see all of them."

Amy Harder, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.