MS Dhoni sole Indian in Forbes list of world's richest athletes
New York: Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni is among Forbes magazine's 100 highest-paid athletes in the world, the only Indian sportsman on the list that has been topped again by American boxer Floyd Mayweather and includes golfer Tiger Woods, tennis star Roger Federer and Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Dhoni has been ranked 23rd on the Forbes list of The World's Highest-Paid Athletes 2015, dropping a notch from his ranking of 22 last year. Dhoni's total earnings stood at $31 million, including amount from salary/winnings at $4 million and endorsements worth $27 million.
The 33-year old cricketer retired from Test cricket at the end of 2014, ceding his Indian national team captainship to fellow star Virat Kohli but remains India's skipper at the one-day international and T20 levels.
"He led India to the semifinal round of the 2015 Cricket World Cup before suffering a loss to eventual champion Australia, and in May the Chennai Super Kings went to the IPL finals for the sixth time in his eight years as team captain," Forbes said.
He is also co-producing 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story,' an upcoming biopic that has been "fraught with delays but has already funneled some three millions into the Indian star's pockets".
The earnings figures include salaries, prize money and bonuses paid out between June 2014 and June 2015.
Mayweather retains the top spot this year with earnings of $300 million, more than double the previous high for an athlete. This is the third time in four years that Mayweather was ranked as the world's highest-paid athlete, Forbes said.
"Mayweather's $300 million year shatters the record for athlete earnings, which was previously held by Tiger Woods who banked $115 million in 2008," Forbes said.
Mayweather's May 2 fight against Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao crushed multiple boxing FINANCIAL records, including $13 million in sponsorships.
Only two women made the 2015 Forbes list after the retirement of Chinese tennis player Li Na last year. Russian professional tennis player Maria Sharapova is the top-ranked women at number 26 with earnings of $29.7 million.
Sharapova bounced back from an injury riddled 2013 to win the 2014 French Open, triggering lucrative bonuses from sponsors like Nike and Head, Forbes said.
American tennis player Serena Williams earned $24.6 million and ranks number 47 on the list. The world's top-ranked tennis player captured her 20th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open. Her $72 million in career prize money is double that of Sharapova, her closest competitor.
The 100 highest-paid athletes made $3.2 billion in total over the last 12 months, up 17 percent from the previous year.
Pacquiao ranks second on the list with total earnings of $160 million followed by Real Madrid's Ronaldo with earnings of $79.6 million.
Federer ranks fifth with earnings of $67 million, including $58 million from sponsors, exhibitions and appearance fees. Federer dropped to No. 7 in the world tennis rankings in 2013 but he rebounded last year to finish 2014 in second. LeBron James is the National Basketball Association's (NBA) top-earning player and ranks sixth among all athletes at $64.8 million.
The list also includes tennis player Novak Djokovic on the 13th rank with earnings of $48.2 million, German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (21), tennis star Rafael Nadal (22), soccer player Wayne Rooney (34) and Jamaican runner Usain Bolt (73).