Osaka eclipses Serena as world’s highest-earning female athlete

andrewhendrie in News 24 May 2020
Osaka highest-earning
Naomi Osaka (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Naomi Osaka is a two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 – and now the Japanese star has topped Serena Williams to become the highest-earning female athlete in sport.

According to a story published by Forbes, the 22-year-old Osaka earned $37.4 million over the last 12 months from endorsements and prize money.


That figure eclipses Serena by $1.4 million, making Osaka the top-earning woman in sport.

“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.”

Maria Sharapova previously held the record with $29.7 for a single year in 2015. Serena had been the highest-paid female athlete for the last four years.

Osaka is No. 29 on the overall list of Forbes’ 100 top-earning athletes, while Serena is No. 33.

The Japanese-Haitian famously beat Serena for her first Grand Slam title at the 2018 U.S. Open before backing it up by claiming her second major at the Australian Open the following year – results that propelled her to No. 1 in the world.

Osaka has won around $14.5 million in prize money according to the WTA website. She is currently part of the IMG Group and has sponsorship deals with juggernaut global brands like Nike and Nissan Motors.