Tennis players are officially the richest female athletes, by far!

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Forbes has published a list of the highest-paid female athletes in 2019 and the first eleven spots are all occupied by women’s tennis players! Earnings taken into account are those from prize money, salaries, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019.

Tennis tournaments provide generous prizes — for example, this year’s Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen will offer $14 million, to be distributed among just a handful of players, where an undefeated singles champion will earn a record-breaking $4.75 million, the biggest prize money check in the history of men’s or women’s professional tennis. However, WTA stars earn even more from lucrative endorsement deals.

1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams

Serena Williams tops the rich list with $29.2 million earned, $25 million of which came from endorsements, and is also the only woman to make it onto the Forbes Top 100 best paid athletes list, coming in at number 63.

2. Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka’s back-to-back Grand Slam titles and her multicultural appeal make her a marketer’s dream. The first Japanese player to win a major in singles and first Asian to rise to the WTA No.1 singles ranking earned about $16 million from her sponsors in the selected period and Forbes’ estimate doesn’t even include her multi-million dollar deal with Nike (it will be included in next year’s list). At tournaments, Osaka earned $8.3 million in the time frame that Forbes took into account.

3. Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber earned more than half as much as Osaka, but the German can’t complain with her total earnings of $11.8 million, $6.5 million of which are coming from Adidas, SAP, Generali, NetJets, Head & Shoulders, Yonex, Rolex, Porsche and Lavazza.

4. Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Simona Halep is the highest ranked player in this Forbes’ list who earned more from tennis than from her sponsors, winning $6.2 million at tournaments and $4 million from companies such as Nike, Wilson, Mercedes-Benz and Hublot.

5.Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

Forbes mentions Sloane Stephens’ contract with Nike as one of the biggest in the sport and also points to the American’s campaign for Air Jordan 8 “Aqua” sneakers.

Ranked at No.6 is Caroline Wozniacki, followed by Maria Sharapova at No.7, Karolina Pliskova at No.8, Elina Svitolina at No.9, while Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza are tied at No.10 with total earnings of $5.9 million.

US World Cup-winning striker Alex Morgan is the first non-tennis player at No. 12, followed by another tennis player, Madison Keys, whose total earnings of $5.5 tie her at position No.13 with Indian professional badminton player P.V. Sindhu.

Here’s the list of the highest-earning female sports stars:

Athlete
1. Serena Williams
2. Naomi Osaka
3. Angelique Kerber
4. Simona Halep
5. Sloane Stephens
6. Caroline Wozniacki
7. Maria Sharapova
8. Karolina Pliskova
9. Elina Svitolina
10. Venus Williams
10 (tie). Garbine Muguruza
12. Alex Morgan
13. Madison Keys
13 (tie). P.V. Sindhu
Total earnings
$29.2 million
$24.3 million
$11.8 million
$10.2 million
$9.6 million
$7.5 million
$7 million
$6.3 million
$6.1 million
$5.9 million
$5.9 million
$5.8 million
$5.5 million
$5.5 million
Prize money + endorsements
$4.2 million + $25 million
$8.3 million + $16 million
$5.3 million + $6.5 million
$6.2 million + $4 million
$4.1 million + $5.5 million
$3.5 million + $4 million
$1 million + $6 million
$4.6 million + $1.7 million
$4.6 million + $1.5 million
$900,000 + $5 million
$2.4 million + $3.5 million
$250,000 + $5.5 million
$2.5 million + $3 million
$500,000 + $5 million

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the link to the Forbes article Marija. I did see that at #15 was golfer Ariya “May” Jutanagarn. Although I am a big WTA fan (BTW I got to attend the induction ceremony of Li Na into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and got her autograph in the book I am holding..YAY!) I really support the ladies of the LPGA as well. They are on their own at the tournaments they play, and are steadily earning more and more. The winner of the most prestigious major of the LPGA–the US Open–for the first time this year got $1,000,000 in prize money. It truly helps the WTA, especially in prize money earnings that they play at the same venue as the men at the Grand Slam events and receive the same amount that the men do.

  2. I don’t know who wrote this but this information is completely WRONG. The purse for the last US Open Serena Williams won ALONE was over $4 million dollars. That’s one grand slam. She has won 22 of them

  3. Carolyn Burney, in the introduction it is written: “Earnings taken into account are those from prize money, salaries, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019.” The fact that Serena has won 23 Grand Slams has nothing to do with this list.

  4. Alex Morgan gets paid for Club and Country, even though the US Players are suing the US Soccer Federation over pay. She also makes money from her book deal but that might be under endorsements, same with the movie she made. It makes sense that the Tennis players are the top paid female athletes, travel must be a pain at times. I am sure it feels like your office is the airport.

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