The Highest Paid

Female

Athletes

2020

The Best

Female Athletes

On The Market

The newest study from Forbes Highest-Paid Female Athletes is out and WTA Tour stars lead with nine players including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams second in the top 10 list.

Forbes had previously reported that Osaka, the two-time Grand Slam winner, beat 23-time Grand Champion Williams to the title of last year’s highest-paid female athlete.

When Serena Williams captured her first Grand Slam title in 1999, Naomi Osaka was just a year old. Nineteen years later, in the United States, Osaka defeated Williams. Open final for her first Grand Slam victory. In Open history, it was one of the most contentious matches, involving three code breaches called against Williams. Now the 22-year-old ace has overcome her iconic rival once again, as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, this time for bragging rights.

Over the last 12 months, Osaka won $37.4 million from prize money and endorsements, $1.4 million more than Serena, setting a female athlete’s all-time earnings record in a single year; Maria Sharapova previously held the record in 2015 with $29.7 million.

While Williams is No. 33, Osaka ranks No. 29 among the 100 highest-paid athletes. It’s the first time two women have been named among the 100 highest-paid athletes since 2016, with the full 2020 list scheduled for release next week.

“Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a fantastic back story for those outside the tennis community,” says David Carter, a professor of sports business at the Marshall School of Business at USC. “Combine two qualities that help her resonate with younger, global audiences, with being youthful and bicultural, and the result is the rise of a global sports marketing icon.”

For Williams, who has been the world’s highest-paid female athlete in each of the last four years, with annual pre-tax profits ranging from $18 million to $29 million, the increase brings an end to a decisive winning streak. During her career, the 23-time Grand Slam champion raised almost $300 million from supporters who swarmed the 38-year-old star.

The best female athletes on the market!

Rank Athlete Endorsements Prize Money Total Earnings
1
Naomi Osaka
$34 million
$3.4 million
$37.4 million
2
Serena Williams
$32 million
$4 million
$36 million
3
Ashleigh Barty
$3 million
$10.1 million
$13.1 million
4
Simona Halep
$4 million
$6.9 million
$10.9 million
5
Bianca Andreescu
$4 million
$4.9 million
$8.9 million
6
Garbiñe Muguruza
$4.5 million
$2.1 million
$6.6 million
7
Elina Svitolina
$1 million
$5.4 million
$6.4 million
8
Sofia Kenin
$1 million
$4.8 million
$5.8 million
9
Angelique Kerber
$4 million
$1.3 million
$4 million
10
Alex Morgan
$4.2 million
$400,000
$4.6 million

A Decade Of Highest-Paid Female Athletes

For the highest-paid female athletes, tennis has become a winning tactic. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were the highest-earning females of the decade before Naomi Osaka came on the scene, holding the top spot for five and four years, respectively.

Naomi Osaka - 2020
$37,400,000 96%
Serena Williams - 2019
$29,200,000 90%
Maria Sharapova - 2015
$29,700,000 89%

Top 10 Highest paid

Female Athletes

1. Naomi Osaka

Pay: $37.4 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $3.4 million

Endorsements: $34 million

Osaka grew up with dual citizenship, but made the wise decision to represent Japan ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo 2020, now scheduled for 2021. The decision made her an even hotter asset for Olympic sponsors, such as All Nippon Airways and Nissin, which signed sponsorship agreements with Osaka to use her to advertise the Games around Procter & Gamble PG -0.5 percent. Of all tennis players, only Roger Federer made out of endorsements more than Osaka.

Naomi Osaka is a professional tennis player from Japan. The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) ranked Osaka as No. 1 and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. She's a three-time singles Grand Slam champion and is the reigning US Open champion. On the WTA Tour, her six WTA titles also include two at the Premier Mandatory level. At the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments and is the first player to accomplish this feat since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, since the age of three, Osaka has been living and studying in the United States. At the age of sixteen, she came to prominence when she beat former US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the 2014 Stanford Classic in her WTA Tour debut. Two years later, at the 2016 Pan Pacific Open in Japan, she reached her first WTA final to join the top 50 in the WTA rankings.

2. Serena Williams

Pay: $36 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $4 million

Endorsements: $32 million

After almost 40 million followers through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, sponsorship partners including Nike, Gatorade, Procter & Gamble, and Beats get a boost from Serena's huge social media. Williams and her partner, Alexis Ohanian, are part of an investment group this summer in Los Angeles that was awarded the newest National Women's Soccer League expansion team. Olympia, their daughter, is also part of the community and became the youngest established professional sports team owner at the age of 2.

Serena Jameka Williams is an American athlete and former world No. 1 tennis player in single women's tennis. She won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in the Open Era by any player, and the second-most behind Margaret Court (24) of all time. Between 2002 and 2017, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) ranked her world No. 1 on eight different occasions in singles. She first achieved the No. 1 ranking on July 8, 2002. She held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks on her sixth occasion, matching the record laid down by Steffi Graf. Overall, for 319 weeks, she has been No. 1, ranking third in the Open Era among female players behind Graf and Martina Navratilova.

In singles, doubles, and blended doubles combined among active players, Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles. Her 39 Grand Slam titles placed her joint-third and second in the Open Era on the all-time list: 23 singles, 14 women's doubles, and two mixed doubles. After Rod Laver and Graf, she is the most recent female player to have won all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15) and the third player to do this twice. In one calendar year (2015), she is also the most recent player to have won a Grand Slam title on each surface (hard, clay, and grass). She is also the current player to have kept all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles concurrently (2009-10) along with her older sister Venus.

3. Ashleigh Barty

Pay: $13.1 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $10.1 million

Endorsements: $3 million

At the 2019 French Open, Barty won her first career slam, prompting lucrative incentives from sponsors Fila and Head. Rado, Jaguar, Vegemite, Banana Boat, and Esmi are also endorsed by her. She became the first Australian woman ranked No. 1 since 1976 in June 2019.

Ashleigh Barty is a professional tennis player and former cricketer from Australia. She is ranked No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) in singles in the world and is the second Australian WTA singles No. 1 after fellow Indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley. She is also a top 20 doubles player, having reached a No. 5 career-high ranking in the world. On the WTA Tour, Barty won eight singles titles and ten doubles titles, including one Grand Slam singles title at the 2019 French Open and one Grand Slam doubles title with partner CoCo Vandeweghe at the 2018 US Open. At the WTA Finals, she is also the reigning champion in singles.

Barty was born in Ipswich in Queensland and started playing tennis in nearby Brisbane at the age of four. After winning the girls' singles title at Wimbledon in 2011, she had a successful junior career, achieving a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world. As a teenager, Barty had early doubles success on the WTA Tour in 2013, finishing runner-up with veteran Casey Dellacqua at three Grand Slam doubles tournaments, including at the Australian Open while still just 16 years old. Barty opted to take an extended break from tennis late in the 2014 season. During this hiatus, she ended up playing cricket, signing for the inaugural Women's Big Bash League season with the Brisbane Heat despite having no formal training in the sport.

4. Simona Halep

Pay: $10.9 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $6.9 million

Endorsements: $4 million

Last year at Wimbledon, Halep added her second career Slam title, and her $36.5 million in career prize money ranks fourth all-time. The sponsors of Halep include multinational brands Nike, Wilson, Hublot, and Avon, as well as many more in her native Romania. (Williams is first at $93 million.)

Simona Halep is a female tennis player from Romania. Between 2017 and 2019, she was ranked world No. 1 in singles twice. For 64 weeks, which ranks tenth in the history of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, she was No. 1 in total. In 2017 and 2018, the year-end No. 1 was Halep. Since 2014, she has finished ranked no lower than No. 4 per year and has the longest active string of being ranked in the top 10. She has won 22 titles in WTA singles and has finished 17 times as runner-up. Two Grand Slam singles titles were won by Halep: the 2018 French Open and the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

At the end of 2011, Halep first broke into the top 50 worldwide, entered the top 20 in August 2013, and then the top 10 in January 2014. In 2013, she won her first six WTA titles in the same calendar year and was the first since Steffi Graf in 1986 to do so. This led at the end of the year to her being named the WTA Most Improved Player. At the 2014 French Open, the 2017 French Open, and the 2018 Australian Open, Halep reached three Grand Slam finals before winning her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2018 French Open against Sloane Stephens. A former junior champion there, she became just the sixth player at the French Open to win both the girls' singles and women's singles championships. Despite causing the worst loss of Williams' career at that point in the round-robin round, Halep also finished runner-up at the 2014 WTA Finals to Serena Williams. She did not beat Williams until the final of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships for the second time.

5. Bianca Andreescu

Pay: $8.9 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $4.9 million

Endorsements: $4 million

As the first Canadian, male, or female, Andreescu made history to win a Grand Slam event when she won the 2019 U.S. Uh, free. The title and her No. 5 year-end world ranking prompted sponsor Nike's lucrative incentives, which renegotiated her deal earlier in the year. She's been adding deals with Rolex, Gatorade, Canadian paper company Royale, and Sleep Country mattresses since the Open title.

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu is a female tennis player from Canada. In the history of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), she has a career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world and is the highest-ranked Canadian. In 2019, Andreescu was the US Open and Canadian Open champion, having beaten Serena Williams to win both titles. She is the first Canadian tennis player to win a single Grand Slam title and the first in 50 years to win the Canadian Open. She is also the first player since Maria Sharapova in 2006 to win a Grand Slam singles title as a teenager.

Before returning to Canada, the country of her birth, Andreescu started playing tennis in her parents' home country of Romania. As a junior, she had success, winning the Orange Bowl and two double Grand Slam titles with compatriot Carson Branstine en route to reaching the world's No. 3 career-best junior ranking. Andreescu had a breakthrough year in 2019 after not playing any matches at the WTA Tour level in 2018, starting with a runner-up in her first event of the season, the Auckland Open. By winning the Indian Wells Open, a Premier Mandatory tournament, she then rose to prominence. While she missed several months because of injury, at the end of the season, Andreescu qualified for the WTA Finals and finished the year ranked No.5.

6. Garbiñe Muguruza

Pay: $6.6 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $2.1 million

Endorsements: $4.5 million

The Spanish-Venezuelan tennis star's runner-up finish at this year's Australian Open was just her second time since her 2017 Wimbledon title to progress beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam. However, with Adidas, Beats, Rolex, Cesar insurance, Babolat, and Maui Jim sunglasses, she maintains a large endorsement portfolio. One of the larger clothing deals in the sport is her Adidas contract.

Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco is a talented Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and former world No. 1. She has won seven singles titles since turning professional in 2012, including two majors: the 2016 French Open and the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.

Muguruza rose to prominence in 2014 after reaching the last 16 at the Australian Open, beating former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki en route, armed with strong groundstrokes and an offensive style of play. In the second round of the French Open, she then defeated world No. 1, Serena Williams, defeating her in straight sets in Williams' most lopsided loss at a Grand Slam, and reaching the quarterfinals.

In 2015, she made it to her first Grand Slam final at the Wimbledon Championships, where she lost to Serena Williams and then captured her maiden Premier-level crown by winning the China Open trophy. She qualified in singles for her first WTA Finals the same year, scoring a perfect winning record in the round-robin stage before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Agnieszka Radwańska.

7. Elina Svitolina

Pay: $6.4 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $5.4 million

Endorsements: $1 million

The Ukrainian reached both Wimbledon and the U.S. semifinals. Open in 2019, and her career-high world ranking of No. 3 matched her. As sponsors, Svitolina has Nike, Wilson, Hublot, Damilano Barolo wines, and EAFit wellness products.

Elina Mykhailivna Svitolina is a tennis player from Ukraine. After turning professional in 2010, on 11 September 2017, and again on 9 September 2019, she achieved her career-high ranking of world No. 3.

Svitolina has won 15 WTA singles titles, including the 2018 WTA Finals and the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Italian Open, and the Canadian Open, three of five Premier 5-level tournaments in 2017. She reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2015 French Open, where she was defeated by former champion Ana Ivanovic. Svitolina became the first Ukrainian woman to break into the top-10 rankings in February 2017 after winning the title in Dubai. At the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, Svitolina will eventually reach her first Grand Slam semifinal and follow it up with a second consecutive semifinal at the 2019 US Open.

8. Sofia Kenin

Pay: $5.8 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $4.8 million

Endorsements: $1 million

Kenin won the January Australian Open, building on her 2019 WTA Most Improved Player Title. At 21, after Serena Williams in 2002, she has been the youngest American to win a Slam. Fila and Babolat are her primary sponsors.

Sofia Anna Kenin is a female tennis player from America. She has a career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). Since Serena Williams won the US Open in 1999, Kenin is the reigning Australian Open champion and the youngest American to win a Grand Slam women's singles title. In 2019, she was named the WTA Most Improved Player of the Year, making her the first American since Serena Williams in 1999 to receive the award as well. Kenin has won five total WTA singles titles. She has also won two WTA doubles titles, including the 2019 China Open with Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Premier Mandatory stage.

Kenin was a child prodigy whose talent at the age of five drew veteran coach Rick Macci 's attention. Kenin became a talented junior player, coached mainly by her father, reaching No. 2 in the world after winning the Orange Bowl at the age of 16 and finishing runner-up at the 2015 US Open girls' singles event the following year. During that summer, she won the USTA Girls 18s National Championship as well. On the professional tour, Kenin made her debut as a teenager in the top 100 of the 2018 WTA rankings. In 2019, she reached her first four WTA singles finals, three of which she won, and completed the year ranked within the top 15.

9. Angelique Kerber

Pay: $5.3 million

Tennis

  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $1.3 million

Endorsements: $4 million

The three Grand Slam wins by Kerber since the beginning of 2016 are the most in women's tennis. Her most lucrative sponsorship contract is with Adidas, which has been partnering since 2013 with the German tennis star. Yonex, Generali, Porsche, and Lavazza have other endorsements.

Angelique Kerber is a female tennis player from Germany. She made her professional debut in 2003 as a former world No. 1 and winner of three Grand Slam tournaments and rose to prominence as the No. 92-ranked player in the world after reaching the semifinals of the 2011 US Open. On 12 September 2016, she climbed to the top of the charts, thereby becoming the twenty-second and oldest player to reach the number-one ranking for the first time.

Kerber, a consistently high-ranking left-handed female tennis player, has won 12 career singles titles on the WTA Tour across all surfaces, including three Grand Slam titles: the 2016 Australian Open, the 2016 US Open, and the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. While representing Germany at the Rio Olympics in 2016, she also won an Olympic silver medal. As of March 9, 2020, Kerber is presently ranked world No. 21.

10. Alex Morgan

Pay: $4.6 million

Soccer
  • Abstract
  • Biography

Prize money: $400,000

Endorsements: $4.2 million

Morgan expanded her deal with Nike after the 2019 World Cup with a clause that guaranteed pay for 18 months even if she wasn't playing. Nike has earlier been blamed for a lack of maternity cover in its contracts with women athletes. Morgan gave birth to her first infant in May. She is starting her own media firm with more data expected by the end of the year.

Alexandra Morgan Carrasco is an American professional soccer player who plays for the English FA Women's Super League's Tottenham Hotspur and the US women's national soccer team as a striker. She has been the co-captain of the national team with Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe since 2018.

Morgan was selected number one overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash, shortly after graduating early from the University of California, Berkeley, where she played for the California Golden Bears. She made her professional debut there and helped the team win the championship in the league. Morgan, who was 22 at the time, was the youngest player in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 national team, where the team won the silver medal. She scored the match-winning goal in the 123rd minute of the semi-final match against Canada at the 2012 London Olympics.

She ended 2012 with 28 goals and 21 assists, joining Mia Hamm as the only American woman in the same calendar year to score 20 goals and gain 20 assists, making her the sixth and youngest U.S. player in a single season to score 20 goals. Afterward, she was named U.S. Female Athlete of the Year in Soccer and was a finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year. At the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cups, where she was named to the Dream Team for both competitions, Morgan also helped the United States win their championships, while she won the Silver Boot in 2019.

Highest paid worldwide

Female Athletes

1. Naomi Osaka
$37.4 million
2. Serena Williams
$36 million
3. Ashleigh Barty
$13.1 million
4. Simona Halep
$10.9 million
5. Bianca Andreescu
$8.9 million
6. Garbiñe Muguruza
$6.6 million
7. Elina Svitolina
$6.4 million
8. Sofia Kenin
$5.8 million
9. Angelique Kerber
$5.3 million
10. Alex Morgan
$4.6 million

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