The sports sponsorship market has been dinged in recent years along with the rest of the economy, but the most elite tennis players still pull in huge endorsement dollars. Credit the global nature of the sport, year-round tournaments and the demographics of the most ardent fans, who have high disposable incomes to spend on apparel, equipment, cars and watches. The 10 top-earning players raked in some $212 million in the past year, with roughly 75 percent derived from endorsements, appearances and exhibition fees. Younger rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have challenged Roger Federer on the court quite a bit of late, but no one touches the Swiss maestro off it when it comes to earnings power.
1. Roger Federer
On court: $9.3 MIL. Off court: $45MIL. TotaL: $54.3 MIL.
He reclaimed his number one ranking on the court after his July Wimbledon win, which was his record 17th Grand Slam title. His ace sponsor roster includes Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, Nike and Rolex.
2. Rafael Nadal
On court: $7.4 MIL. Off court: $25 MIL. TotaL: $32.4 MIL.
A knee injury kept Nadal out of the Olympics and will sideline him for the US Open. He has won $50 million in career prize money.
3. Maria Sharapova
On court: $5.1 MIL. Off court: $22 MIL. TotaL: $27.1 MIL.
Sharapova’s eight-year Nike deal should top $70 million, including royalties. Next up: Her own line of candy, Sugarpova.
4. Novak Djokovic
On court: $10.3 MIL. Off court: $9.5 MIL. TotaL: $19.8 MIL.
His success triggered significant bonuses that his apparel sponsor, Sergio Tacchini, could not afford. The two parted ways in May.
5. Li Na
On court: $1.4 MIL. Off court: $17 MIL. TotaL: $18.4 MIL.
Li snared seven endorsement deals after her 2011 French Open title, the first singles Grand Slam won by an Asian-born player.
6. Serena Williams
On court: $5.3 MIL. Off court: $11 MIL. TotaL: $16.3 MIL.
Her $38 million in career prize money is tops among women.
7. Caroline Wozniacki
On court: $2.7 MIL. Off court: $11 MIL. TotaL: $13.7 MIL.
The former world No. 1 has a dozen endorsement partners and is releasing her own line of underwear in September.
8. Andy Murray
On court: $5 MIL. Off court: $7 MIL. TotaL: $12 MIL.
The Olympic gold medalist has endorsement deals with Adidas, Head, Rado watches and Royal Bank of Scotland (Murray is Scottish).
9. Victoria Azarenka
On court: $6.7 MIL. Off court: $3 MIL. TotaL: $9.7 MIL.
The $6.7 million in prize money taken home by the current women’s No. 1 over the past 12 months was a tour high.
10. Andy Roddick
On court: $0.8 MIL. Off court: $8 MIL. TotaL: $8.8 MIL.
His drop in rankings to No. 21 dings his sponsor bonuses.
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(This story appears in the 28 September, 2012 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)