Serena Williams tops Forbes female athletes rich list as tennis stars dominate

Serena Williams reflecting

Serena Williams didn’t play much tennis in the past year, but she still managed to comfortably top Forbes’ highest-paid female athletes list for 2018.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner spent most of the 2017 season and the early parts of the 2018 campaign away from the tennis courts after she gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in September last year.

Yet she still earned $18 million between June 2017 and June 2018.

According to Forbes, she made only $62,000 in prize money with the rest of her fortune coming from sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Intel, Audemars Piguet and JPMorgan Chase.

“Only 16 athletes on the planet made more than Williams over the past 12 months from endorsements, and she made twice as much off the court as any other female athlete,” the report added.

Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki is second on the list with $13 million ($7m from prize money and $6m from endorsements) followed by reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens on $11.2 million ($5.7m prize money, $5.5m endorsements).

Fellow tennis stars Garbine Muguruza from Spain ($11 million) and five-time major champion Maria Sharapova from Russia ($10.5 million) round out the top five.

In fact, eight of the top 10 play tennis as Venus Williams ($10.2m) is sixth, Simona Halep ($7.7m) sits eighth and Angelique Kerber ($7m) completes the list.

Indian badminton star PV Sindhu and American race car driver Danica Patrick are the two non-tennis players in the top 10.

Women, though, were conspicuous by their absence in the overall Forbes list for the highest-paid athletes that was released in June as not a single female was in the top 100.

Serena Williams was 51st in the previous year, but she dropped out on the back of her maternity leave.