Tennis stars again top Forbes’ list of top-earning female athletes

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is reported to have earned $24.4 million from June 2013 through June this year, with $22.2 million coming from endorsements.
(Tannen Maury / European Pressphoto Agency)

The list of highest-earning female athletes in the world might not surprise you, with the exception that mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey, who might be the most popular woman in America right now, is not in the top 10. Her big paydays might be coming soon, though, thanks to Hollywood.

Forbes released a list of the top-paid women in sports -- including their earnings from prize money, salary, merchandising/licensing, appearance fees and endorsements -- from June 2013 through June this year.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, who won the French Open this year, was the top earner at $24.4 million, with only $2.2 million coming from prize money. The rest was from endorsements. Tennis players dominated the top 10, thanks mostly to endorsements.

Rounding out the top five were Chinese tennis star Li Na with $23.6 million ($18.6 million in endorsements), No. 1-ranked tennis player Serena Williams of the U.S. with $22 million ($11 million from both prize money and endorsements), retired gold-medal ice skater Kim Yuna of South Korea with $16.3 million ($16 million from endorsements) and race-car driver Danica Patrick with $15 million ($7 million in salary and prize money, the rest from endorsements and merchandising/licensing).


Other tennis stars in the top 10 were Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at No. 6 with $11.1 million, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark at No. 7 with $10.8 million, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland at No. 8 with $6.8 million and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia at No. 9 with $6.4 million. American golfer Paula Creamer was No. 10 with $5.5 million.

Forbes reported that Rousey, the UFC’s unbeaten women’s bantamweight champion and costar in the movie “The Expendables 3,” headed a list of rising stars that just missed the cut. American golfer Michelle Wie and tennis player Sloane Stephens were also mentioned as possibilities to soon crack the top 10.