Serena tops Forbes list of highest paid female athletes

Serena Williams of the US in action at Wimbledon, London, Britain. (Reuters pic)

TORONTO: Serena Williams was the highest paid female athlete for a third consecutive year in 2018, according to an annual list published by Forbes on Tuesday that was dominated by tennis players.

Williams, who returned to competition in March after giving birth last September, earned US$62,000 in winnings over the past year but received US$18.1 million from an endorsement portfolio unmatched among women in sports, Forbes said.

Williams, who will try to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles when she competes at the Aug 27-Sept 9 US Open in New York, earned twice as much off the court as any other female athlete, according to Forbes.

Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who captured her maiden grand slam title at this year’s Australian Open, was second on the list with combined earnings of (US$13 million) while reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens (US$11.2 million) was third.

Spaniard Garbine Muguruza (US$11 million) and Russian Maria Sharapova (US$10.5 million) rounded out the top five.

Indian badminton player P.V. Sindhu (US$8.5 million) and retired race car driver Danica Patrick (US$7.5 million) were the only non-tennis players to crack the top 10, filling up the seventh and ninth spots, respectively.

In June, Forbes issued a ranking of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes and it did not feature a woman.

Serena Williams, who was the only woman on the list the previous year, dropped out of the chart while taking time off to have a baby.