Novak Djokovic has steamrolled the competition on the ATP Tour in 2011. He started the year with a 43-match winning streak and has racked up 57 wins against just two losses en route to his nine tournament titles this year. His year-to-date prize money is more than the combined total of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Serbian player known as Nole is at the top of his sport right now.
Yet when it comes to the highest-paid tennis players, Djokovic comes up short compared to competitors Roger and Rafa if you look at total earnings. The duo who were ranked Nos. 1 and 2 on the court for most of the past six years have won 26 Grand Slams combined and their dominant play over a long period of time attracted a slew of sponsors willing to shell out multimillion endorsement deals. Djokovic's deals have yet to come.
Federer is the highest-paid tennis player in the world over the past 12-months with earnings of $47 million from prize money, endorsements, exhibitions and appearance fees. He has only one tournament title this year after averaging eight wins annually since 2003, but his income has never been higher.
Federer has long-term deals with Credit Suisse, Jura, Lindt, National Suisse, Net Jets, Rolex and Wilson. This year he renewed his agreement with Mercedes-Benz which previously was for only China. It is now a global deal which doubled the value for Federer.
He also re-upped with Gillette which is considering using Federer as part of its 2012 Olympic sponsorship program in London where Federer is a legend thanks to his six Wimbledon crowns. Federer is the only one of Gillette's original "Champions" that had their endorsement contract renewed as the shaving giant dropped both Tiger Woods and Thierry Henry.
Federer's biggest paycheck still comes from Nike. He re-signed with the sporting giant in 2008 for a 10-year deal that is the most lucrative endorsement package in tennis worth more than $10 million annually. In addition to his lucrative endorsement portfolio, Federer can command as much as $1 million per event for exhibitions outside the U.S.
Our look at the highest-paid tennis players in the world looks at total earnings from prize money, exhibitions, appearance fees and sponsorships between July 2010 and July 2011. The top 10 is split evenly between men and women with eight different countries represented. Andy Roddick is the highest-paid American at No. 6 with earnings of $13 million. The top 10 earned $193 million cumulatively compared to $171 million for last year's highest-paid players. The cut-off was $10.5 million to crack the top 10.
Nadal is closing the gap with Federer in the Grand Slam tally (Federer leads 16-10) and on the income side, but he still trails in both categories. Nadal ranks No. 2 among the highest-paid in tennis at $31 million over the past 12-months. He earned $10 million in prize money with the rest generated through appearance fees, exhibitions and endorsements.
Nadal counts Nike, Babolat, Kia Motors, Richard Mille and a host of Spanish firms among his sponsors. Last year Giorgio Armani chose Nadal to follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo as an underwear model for the brand. This year Bacardi inked Nadal for its "Champions Drink Responsibly" campaign which was first launched in 2008. The new deals bring his corporate earnings to an estimated $21 million annually including exhibitions.
Djokovic ranks No. 4 with earnings of $18 million thanks to nearly $11 million in prize money over the past 12-months. Djokovic's status as the men's top player has bumped up his asking price for exhibitions, but his sponsorships are still limited. Current partners include: Sergio Tacchini, Head, FitLine and Telekom Srbija.
The top woman is Maria Sharapova who earned $25 million during the past year and ranks No. 3 behind Federer and Nadal. Sharapova is the world's highest-paid female athlete with earnings twice as much as any other woman. The three-time Grand Slam winner has bounced back from injuries that saw her ranking fall to 126 on the WTA Tour in 2009. She has won 80 percent of her matches this year and is one of the favorites at the 2011 US Open.
Sharapova has one of the most impressive endorsement portfolios in sports with Nike, Head, Evian, Clear Shampoo, Sony Ericsson, Tiffany and Tag Heuer as partners. She extended her Nike pact in 2010 for eight years and the deal could be worth up to $70 million. She collects royalties on her Nike line of tennis apparel which was up 26 percent in 2010. Her ballet flat was also the top selling shoe last year at Nike-subsidiary Cole Haan.
The top five: