Two time Grand-slam winner Naomi Osaka has become the world’s highest-paid female athlete, displacing US rival Serena Williams at the top of the list.
According to Forbes magazine, Osaka, 22, a US Open Grand Slam winner, made £30.7m in prize money and endorsements over the last 12 months. That was £1.15m more than the amount earned by 38-year-old Williams.
Both shattered the previous single-year earnings record of £24.4m set in 2015 by Russia’s Maria Sharapova.
Since Forbes began tracking women athletes’ income in 1990, tennis players have topped the annual list every year.
Japanese Osaka is a two time grand-slam winner
Naomi Osaka, whose father was born in Haiti and whose mother is Japanese, is 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of the world’s 100 top-paid athletes, four spots ahead of Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
“To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story,” says David Carter, a sports business professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business. “Combine that with being youthful and bicultural, two attributes that help her resonate with younger, global audiences, and the result is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon.”
This becomes the first time that two women appear of the Forbes Magazine list since 2016. The complete list of the Athletes will be released next week according to the magazine.
The pair met in the 2018 US Open final with Osaka winning her first Grand Slam title in a highly controversial match in which Williams was given three code violations by the umpire.
The Japanese then won the 2019 Australian Open, but her form has since seriously dropped and she has fallen from world number one to 10th on the WTA rankings.
Serena 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. Sharapova retired from Tennis early this year.
Naomi Osaka has been a popular endorsement figure in Japan in the build-up to the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics, securing lucrative deals with global brands Nike, Nissan and Yonex, among others.
Tennis is among the many various sports that are still under suspension as result of the worldwide lockdown that was brought by the Coronavirus pandemic
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Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.