Osaka tops Serena as world's highest-paid female athlete

Ross Houston
May 22, 2020

The 22-year-old Japanese star has been unveiled by Forbes magazine as the world's highest-paid female athlete, making $61.4 million (NZD) in the past 12 months.

Japan's Naomi Osaka has surpassed Serena Williams as the world's highest-paid female athlete, raking in $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements over the a year ago, according to Forbes.

The 22-year-old Asian star, a two-time Grand Slam champion, edged USA rival Serena Williams by $1.4 million in prize money and endorsement income over the past year.

It wasn't just enough to edge Williams into second place, but also the biggest number dropped by a woman in history, shattering the single-year earning mark of $48.8 million set by Maria Sharapova in 2015.

She famously beat Williams at the US Open in 2018 to claim her maiden major before doubling her haul at the Australian Open the following year.

Osaka has been a marketing gold mine in her native Japan and around the world.

Osaka ranks just 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of the world's 100 top-paid athletes, four spots ahead of Williams, which is due to be released next week.

Roger Federer was the highest earner in the sport a year ago, collecting an astonishing $93.4 million that included enormous backing from the likes of clothing line Uniqlo, with whom he has a $300 million long-term deal.

Shyness made interviews and interacting in the locker room hard but she is now determined to make the most of her platform.

That was £1.15m more than the amount earned by 38-year-old Williams.

That made her the first Asian player to reach number one in the rankings and earned her more than $4 million in prize money, although her plans to represent her country and brands including U.S. multinational Procter and Gamble at this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo have been put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Forbes, she now has 15 endorsement partners and has signed a lucrative apparel deal with Nike.

Williams had been the world's highest-paid female athlete in each of the past four years, with Sharapova ruling for the five years before that.

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