Naomi Osaka becomes world’s highest-earning female athlete

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According to a story posted on Forbes.com on Friday, the 22-year-old player earned $37.4 million from June 1, 2019, to June 1, 2020, from endorsements and prize money, eclipsing Serena Williams ($36 million) in that span. The figure is also the highest ever for a female athlete, passing the $29.7 million payday Maria Sharapova earned in 2015, according to the report.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has become the world's highest-paid female athlete, displacing USA rival Serena Williams at the top of the list.

Sports business professor David Carter said that Osaka's "great back story" - her family moved from Japan to NY when she was three, where her father tried to emulate Williams' father, Richard, by teaching her tennis from a young age - was an integral part of her allure for advertisers.

Osaka, whose father was born in Haiti and whose mother is Japanese, is 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of the world's 100 top-paid athletes, four spots ahead of Williams, the victor of 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

She famously beat Williams at the US Open in 2018 to claim her maiden major before doubling her haul at the Australian Open the following year.

Their inclusion represents the first time since 2016 that two women have joined the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world as decided by Forbes, although their earnings are certain to be dwarfed by the leading tennis players included when the full list is revealed next week.

Osaka ranks 29th in the top 100 highest paid athletes, ahead of Williams who sits 33rd. The two-time Grand Slam champion has inked deals with Nissan Motors, Yonex, Nike, Procter & Gamble, All Nippon Airways and Nissin.

Shyness made interviews and interacting in the locker room hard but she is now determined to make the most of her platform.

She earned $1.4-million more than American great Williams who had topped the list for the last four years.

The Japanese then won the 2019 Australian Open, although her form has since dipped and she has fallen from world number one to 10th on the WTA rankings.

A large slice of Osaka's income stems from an apparel deal with Nike that paid her more than $16.1 million in the past year and runs through 2025.

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