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AFP
May 24, 2020

Osaka becomes world’s highest-paid female athlete

Sports

AFP
May 24, 2020

NEW YORK: Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has become the world’s highest-paid female athlete, making $37.4 million (34.3 million euros) in the past 12 months for an earnings record, Forbes magazine reported Friday.

The 22-year-old Asian star, a two-time Grand Slam champion, edged US rival Serena Williams by $1.4 million in prize money and endorsement income over the past year. Both shattered the old single-year earnings mark of $29.7 million set in 2015 by Russia’s Maria Sharapova, who retired in February with five Grand Slam titles, including a career Slam.

“To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story,” University of Southern California sports business professor David Carter told Forbes. “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.”

Osaka, whose father was born in Haiti and whose mother is Japanese, ranks 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of the world’s 100 top-paid athletes, four spots ahead of Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles. The complete list, due to be released next week, has not featured two women since 2016, according to the magazine. Williams, 38, had been the world’s highest-paid female athlete in each of the past four years. Sharapova ruled for the five years before that. Williams had annual incomes from $18 million to $29 million and has collected nearly $300 million, much of it in endorsement deals.