Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Makes History as the Highest-Paid Female Athlete
Photo Credit: DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images

Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Makes History as the Highest-Paid Female Athlete

Women are taking over in sports and leading not only in winning titles but in earnings as well.

Naomi Osaka, the 22-year-old tennis superstar, made history over the weekend as the highest-paid female athlete ever earning $37.4 million in the past year, which is $1.4 million more than Serena Williams has made, according to ELLE.

Forbes reported that Osaka’s earnings came from prize money and endorsements she’s racked up over the last 12 months, setting an all-time record high for what a female athlete has earned in a single year.

Her new record also surpasses that of Maria Sharapova‘s 2015 record of $29.7 million.

Osaka now ranks No. 29 among the 100 highest-paid athletes while Williams is No. 33, according to Forbes. They also reported that this is the first time since 2016 that two female athletes have ranked on this list, with the full 2020 list set to release sometime this week.

Osaka garnered her newfound fame from defeating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final with her first Grand Slam victory in 2018. Last year, she also became the first back-to-back Grand Slam champion after becoming the 2019 Australia Open champion.

Her unique story, engaging personality, and skills on the tennis court at such a young age made her the new fresh face to know in sports.

“To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story,” David Carter, a sports business professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business, said. “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.”

Osaka’s impressive career has brands lining up to get in business with her including Shiseido and Yonex, Nissan Motors,  and most of all, Nike — who are all among the 15 brands to endorse her.

Her apparel deal with Nike paid her more than $10 million last year in an agreement that runs through 2025, Forbes reports.

She’s expected to release her streetwear line with Nike later this year.