Serena Williams tops Forbes’ list of highest-paid female athletes for the fourth year in a row after amassing a huge £24million in 12 months.
The 23-time grand slam singles champion earned 29.2 million US dollars (approximately £24million) for the 12 months to June 1, only £3.4m dollars of which was in prize money. Naomi Osaka became just the fourth woman to earn more than £16.5m ($20m) in a year after Williams, Maria Sharapova and Li Na. The top end of the list is heavily dominated by tennis stars, who have benefited from lucrative endorsements as well as prize winning pots.
The young Japanese star’s earnings leapt to £20m ($24.3m) on the back of her first two grand slam titles at the US Open and the Australian Open.
Osaka, who is of Japanese and Haitian heritage but has lived in the United States for most of her life, is seen as one of the most commercially attractive sports stars.
Sportswear giants Nike shocked the tennis world when it announced in April that they had secured Osaka to an endorsement deal, beating fierce competitors Adidas in the process.
The agreement saw a hearty injection to Osaka’s commercial funds, with her raking in a collective £13m in endorsements.
Tennis players once again dominated the list, with last year’s Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in third ahead of this year’s SW19 winner Simona Halep.
The highest-placed athlete from another sport was United States footballer Alex Morgan in 12th, who earned £4.75m ($5.8m) US dollars, nearly all of it in endorsements.
Morgan rocketed to the face of women’s football in the States, though was largely overshadowed at the France World Cup by the exploits of team-mate Megan Rapinoe.
Rapinoe, 33, was particularly vocal during the tournament and publicly responded to comments from US president Donald Trump.
The purple-haired star featured in a series of commercials in the aftermath of her nation retaining the title as world’s finest, though did not enter Forbes’ top 15 female earners.
Indian badminton star PV Sindhu and Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn were the other non-tennis players in the top 15.
THE FORBES TOP 15 EARNERS
15. Ariya Jutanugarn (golf) Total Earnings: £4.4m ($5.3m) Prize Money: £3.3m Endorsements: £2 million
13 (tie). Madison Keys (tennis) Total Earnings: £4.5m ($5.5m) Prize Money: £2.5m Endorsements: £2m
13 (tie). P.V. Sindhu (badminton) Total Earnings: £4.5m ($5.5m) Prize Money: £500K Endorsements: £4.1m
12. Alex Morgan (football) Total Earnings: £4.7 ($5.8m) Salary: £205K Endorsements: £4.5m
10 (tie). Garbine Muguruza (tennis) Total Earnings: £4.8m ($5.9m) Prize Money: £1.9m Endorsements: £2.8m
10 (tie). Venus Williams (tennis) Total Earnings: £4.8m ($5.9m) Prize Money: £740K Endorsements: £4.1m
9. Elina Svitolina (tennis) Total Earnings: £5m ($6.1m) Prize Money: £3.8m Endorsements: £1.2m
8. Karolina Pliskova (tennis) Total Earnings: £5.1m ($6.3m) Prize Money: £3.8m Endorsements: £1.4m
7. Maria Sharapova (tennis) Total Earnings: £5.8m ($7m) Prize Money: £825K Endorsements: £4.9m
6. Caroline Wozniacki (tennis) Total Earnings: £6.2m ($7.5m) Prize Money: £3.3m Endorsements: £2.9m
5. Sloane Stephens (tennis) Total Earnings: £7.9m ($9.6m) Prize Money: £3.3m Endorsements: £4.5m
4. Simona Halep (tennis) Total Earnings: £8.4m ($10.2m) Prize Money: £5.1m Endorsements: £3.3m
3. Angelique Kerber (tennis) Total Earnings: £9.7m ($11.8m) Prize Money: £4.3m Endorsements: £5.4m
2. Naomi Osaka (tennis) Total Earnings: $24.3 million Prize Money: $8.3 million Endorsements: $16 million
1. Serena Williams (tennis) Total Earnings: £24m ($29.2m) Prize Money: £3.4m Endorsements: £20.5m