Top 10 all-time WTA career-prize money earners: Will Serena Williams hit $100m mark before she retires?

Serena Williams

Serena Williams didn’t have the best of years when compared to her usually high standards following an injury-disrupted campaign, but the tennis great still appears to be untouchable at the top of the all-time WTA career-prize money earners.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner comfortably leads the way and she is within touching distance of the $100m mark, but she will need at least one big season in order to hit that milestone.

Further down the list, Simona Halep is closing in on Maria Sharapova while the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber are sniffing at the top five.

Top 10 all-time WTA career-prize money earners

10 Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) – $25,816,890

This might well be the Russian’s last year in the top 10 as her advantage over the next best active player (Garbine Muguruza of Spain) is under $2m and you expect a sense of normality to return in 2022 in terms of prize money.

The two-time Grand Slam winner collected a mere $333,290 this year, a far cry from the heydays when she would regularly earn more than $2m per annum.

9 Agnieszka Radwanksa (Poland) – $27,683,807

The former world No 2 is the only player in the top 10 without a Grand Slam to her name, but considering she retired back in 2018, you have to doff your hat to her.

The Pole’s best performance at a major came in 2012 when she finished runner-up to Serena Williams while her other big pay day came in 2015 when she won the WTA Finals to finish the year with $4,412,293 in prize money.

Radwanksa finished her career with 20 singles titles.

8 Angelique Kerber (Germany) – $31,327,924

Three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber added $1,287,196 to her bank balance in 2021, which is well short of the record-breaking $10,136,615 she earned during her best campaign in 2016.

The German won only one title this year – the Bad Homburg Open – but she picked up a decent cheque after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

7 Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) – $33,420,592

The two-time Wimbledon winner dropped one place in the list after collecting only $847,988 in earnings this year.

Kvitova took her singles titles tally to 28 after winning the Qatar Open for a second time, but she didn’t have the best of years at Grand Slams as she failed to make it past the third round at all four tournaments.

6 Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) – $33,773,916

The former world No 1’s career resurgence continues as she moved up one place on the list after earning $1,426,628 during the 2021 campaign.

Although Azarenka, who has 21 singles titles to her name, didn’t win any tournaments this year, her runners-up finish at the BNP Paribas Open saw her collect $640,000.

Back in 2012, the two-time Australian Open winner earned a handsome $7,923,920 in prize money.

5 Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) – $35,233,415

The Dane, who retired in 2020, could slip down the rankings over the next few years as she only has a $1,5m advantage over Azarenka while Kvitova is also not too far adrift.

Wozniacki’s biggest pay day came in 2018 when she earned $6,657,719 on the back of winning the Australian Open, Eastbourne International and China Open.

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4 Simona Halep (Romania) – $37,950,24

An injury disrupted season saw two-time Grand Slam winner Halep miss both the French Open and her title defence at Wimbledon.

The Romanian added only $904,330 to her tally, but it does mean the gap between herself and Maria Sharapova is now under $1m and if she has a decent campaign next year then she should move up to third place.

3 Maria Sharapova (Russia) – $38,777,962

Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova retired in 2020 and her best season in terms of prize money came in 2012 when she collected $6,508,296 while in 2014 she won $5,839,357.

Interestingly, Forbes claims the Russian earned nearly $300 million from sponsorship deals and tournament appearances with her best season in 2015 when she made $30 million.

2 Venus Williams (United States) – $42,280,541

Venus has struggled with form and injury over the past few years and, having turned 41 in October this year, it is unlikely that we will see her on the WTA Tour for much longer.

The former world No 1 earned $322,257 in prize money in 2021 and the last time she collected more than a $1m in a single season was in 2017 when she made $5,468,741.

1 Serena Williams (United States) – $94,518,971

Serena Williams is well clear at the top of the all-time WTA career-prize money earners and the big question is if she will reach the $100m mark before she retires.

If she does hit the $100m, then she will have to win another Grand Slam or two.

An injury-hit season meant she earned only $322,257 in 2021 and she has already confirmed that she won’t take part in the next year’s Australian Open.

The American still holds the record for best season in terms of prize money as she collected $12,385,572 in 2013 while in 2015 she earned $10,582,642.

* Active players outside the top 10 as of December 2021
13 Garbine Muguruza (Spain) – $24,006,672
18 Ashleigh Barty (Australia) – $21,539,751
19 Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) – $21,156,858
21 Naomi Osaka (Japan) – $20,076,456