Osaka breaks Sharapova record to become highest-paid female athlete in history

Naomi Osaka has become the highest paid female athlete over a 12-month period in history, toppling Maria Sharapova’s previous record.

Osaka, the 22-year-old world No. 10 tennis player from Japan, has earned $37.4million (£30.7m) in the past year from prize money and endorsements, setting a new record.

Sharapova, who retired from tennis earlier this year, held the previous record after earning $29.7m (£24.4m) in 2015.

Osaka ranks at No. 29 in the top-100 highest-paid athletes in 2020, with Serena Williams – who earned $36m (£29.5m) over the same period – the only other sportswoman in the top-100.

It’s the first time since 2016 that two female athletes have been ranked in Forbes’ top-100 best-paid athletes list. Williams had been the highest-paid female athlete throughout that period.

Osaka shot to prominence by beating Williams in the controversial 2018 US Open final – a match that was overshadowed by Williams’ infamous row with umpire Carlos Ramos – before winning a second consecutive major at the Australian Open at the start of 2019.

Her form has dipped significantly since, failing to reach the quarter-finals in any tournament following her triumph in Melbourne.

However, her stock has continued to rise. She now has 15 partners, including brands such as Nike, Nissan, Shiseido and Yonex.

Tennis continues to be the dominant force in women’s sport. Since 1990, only tennis players have topped Forbes’ female list.

The full list of the top-100 highest paid athletes will be released next week.

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