By reaching the singles and doubles finals at the 2009 Australian Open, world No.2 Serena Williams broke golf star Annika Sorenstam's record for career prize money by a female athlete with nearly $23 million.
Even if Williams is to lose both championship matches, she would leave Australia with career earnings of about $22.7 million, overcoming Lindsay Davenport, who used to hold the record in women's tennis, by more than $500,000, and Sorenstam's total by more than $150,000.
Williams’ first check was worth $240, she earned it at an event in Canada in 1995:
It's amazing how much women's tennis has grown since I joined the tour 14 years ago.
If Williams wins two Australian Open championships this week, her career earnings will reach more than $23.5 million. In singles she’s looking for her 10th Grand Slam title in a clash with Dinara Safina, while in doubles, along with her sister Venus Williams, she faces Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama. (source: ESPN, photo: Tennis Channel)