Japan's Naomi Osaka and legendary Serena Williams lead the rich-list among sportswomen, says American business magazine Forbes. Ashleigh Barty, who won the French Open, the WTA Finals in Shenzhen (where she collected a $4.4 million cheque) and finished the year as World No 1, features third on the list of highest earners in 2019.
Nine of the world's ten highest-paid female athletes in 2019 come from tennis with the only exception being US women's national team played Alex Morgan.
Despite pocketing a huge cheque in China, Barty's earnings for 2019 are dwarfed by that of her peers Osaka and Williams.
In contrast, Osaka earned 'only' $3.4 million in prize money but her endorsement deals took her earnings to $37.4 million. Serena, meanwhile, collected $36 million, $32 million of which was paid out from endorsement deals.
The women's tennis tour (WTA) became professional in 1973 and the benefits are being reaped by the current crop. US Open was the first Grand Slam to offer equal pay to men and women. But the others joined in only in this century. Australian Open did so in 2001 and Wimbledon was the last in 2007. Now, many joint tournaments offer equal money to men and women but it has been a long battle in other sports.
As per Forbes, the combined earnings take into account prize money, salaries, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees between 1 June, 2019 and 1 June, 2020. For the tennis players on the list it means two and a half months of prize money being missed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a list of the world's 100 best-paid athletes published by Forbes earlier in the year, Osaka (29th) and Williams (33rd) were the only women.
Top 10 highest-earning sportswomen:
Naomi Osaka ($37.4 million)
Serena Williams ($36 million)
Ashleigh Barty ($13.1 million)
Simona Halep ($10.9 million)
Bianca Andreescu ($8.9 million)
Garbine Muguruza ($6.6 million)
Elina Svitolina ($6.5 million)
Sofia Kenin ($5.8 million)
Angelique Kerber ($5.3 million)
Alex Morgan ($4.6 million)