Despite his modesty, the partnership with Nadal is worth a lot to Nike who pay him more than $10 million per year for the association. Nadal also has sponsorship deals with Santander, Emporio Armani, Babolat, Heliocare, Telefonica, Banco Sabadell, Tommy Hilfiger, Mapfre and luxury watchmakers Richard Mille.
Among tennis players, Rafael Nadal comes in next at 27th place, with total earnings of $40 million (prize money $14 million, endorsements: $26 million).
Two of the next three tennis players behind Rafael Nadal on the Forbes list are Japanese – 29th-placed Naomi Osaka and 40th-placed Kei Nishikori. In fact, Osaka is the highest-earning female athlete in the world, having $37.8 million ($3.4 million in prize money and $34 million in endorsements.)
Purely from an endorsement perspective, Roger Federer ($100 million), Naomi Osaka ($34 million), Novak Djokovic ($32 million), Serena Williams ($32 million) and Kei Nishikori ($31 million) are all ahead of Rafael Nadal ($26 million). While it is understandable that Federer, Djokovic and Williams earned more in sponsorship than Nadal, Osaka and Nishikori being ahead of the Spaniard raises a few eyebrows.
The bulk of Nadal’s endorsement earnings came from his deals with Babolat, KIA Motors, Nike, Richard Mille, Santander and Telefónica. Babolat is a French sports equipment company, Kia Motors is in the automobile sector, Nike is a global American footwear player, Richard Mille is a Swiss watch-making company, Banco Santander is a Spanish bank while Telefonica is a Spanish telecommunication provider.
Rafael Nadal earned an estimated annual sum of $10 million from Nike alone, which comprised about 38% of his total endorsement earnings of $26 million last year. The Spaniard has had a more than decade-long deal with the American company, and has recently inked an extension with them.