Top Seven Highest-Paid Female Tennis Stars

Serving Up Big Bucks

Top Seven Highest-Paid Female Tennis Stars
August 28, 2015

The Forbes list of the world's highest-paid female athletes was recently released, and to nobody's surprise, tennis players claimed most of the spots. Tennis is the one sport where the prize money and popularity is relatively equal between the sexes, and lucrative endorsement contracts are readily available.

Let's take a look at the top seven female tennis players in terms of earnings.

  1. Maria Sharapova – Sharapova (pictured above) leads the list of highest-earning female athletes for an amazing 11th straight year. She bounced back from injuries in 2013 to take the 2014 French Open, and racked up $6.7 million in prize money for the 2015 evaluation period. Sharapova also earns $23 million in endorsements from Avon, Evian, Tag Heuer, Nike, Head, Porsche and other sponsors, giving her the undisputed title at $29.7 million. That total is ahead of all but three male tennis stars.

  2. Serena Williams – Serena (pictured below) is on a roll, with four straight Grand Slam wins (aka the Serena Slam). With a US Open victory, she would complete the calendar year sweep of the Grand Slam, a feat last pulled off by Steffi Graf in 1998. Her $11.6 million in prize money tops the list, and with $13 million in endorsements, Serena is closing in on the top earnings spot with $24.6 million. Chase and Gatorade/PepsiCo are among her sponsors.

  3. Serena Williams

  4. Caroline Wozniacki – Wozniacki was involved in two high profile events other than tennis over the past year, with an appearance in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and a run in the New York City marathon that raised over $80,000 for charity. Wozniacki pulled in a total of $14.6 million with $11 million in endorsements and $3.6 million in prize money. Sponsors include Rolex, Adidas, and Godiva chocolates. (It's been reported that free chocolates are part of the deal.)

  5. Ana Ivanovic – Ivanovic earned $8.3 million over the past year, with $1.8 million in winnings and $6.5 million in endorsements. She reached 5th in the 2014 world rankings in 2014 but has no Grand Slam victories since her triumph in the 2008 French Open. Ivanovic's sponsors include Adidas, Shiseido, and Dubai Duty Free.

  6. Petra Kvitova – Thanks to a 2014 Wimbledon victory, Kvitova (pictured below) shot up the earnings list. As of this writing, her Wimbledon victory is the last Grand Slam event won by anyone other than Serena Williams. Kvitova's total winnings were $5.9 million, and an extra $1.8 million in endorsements raised her to 5th place with $7.7 million. Nike and Wilson are Kvitova's primary sponsors.

  7. Petra

  8. Simona Halep – Halep rose to be the second-ranked female player in 2014, propelled by her appearance in the finals of the 2014 French Open. She has multiple endorsements in her native Romania along with contracts with Adidas and Wilson, but $5.3 million in prize money overshadowed her $1.5 million in endorsements. With a total of $6.8 million, Halep is in 7th place on the Forbes list.

  9. Agnieszka Radwanska – Radwanska earned $6 million over the last year, with $2 million in prize money and $4 million in endorsements. She has yet to break through with a Grand Slam victory, coming closest in 2012 at Wimbledon where Serena Williams beat her in the finals. Her sponsors include Lotto and Lexus.

Will Serena finally secure enough endorsements to catch Sharapova, or will Sharapova hold her title as the highest-earning female athlete for an amazing 12th straight year? Or will one of the other top ladies of tennis break out of the pack to challenge both? We'll have to see how the next 12 months play out.


Maria Sharapova photo by the_vhale [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Serena Williams photo by Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Petra Kvitova photo by Pavel Lebeda / ?eská sportovní (Pavel Lebeda / ?eská sportovní) [CC BY-SA 3.0 cz (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/cz/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Daniel Dohlstrom | 08.28.15 @ 14:15
Though it may be awesome to highlight these ladies and their skill overall we pay these athletes way to much .. 7 Top rated and paid teachers earning in the millions how does that sound
Sara | 08.28.15 @ 14:16
That is crazy they get paid that much. However, football players and males get paid more. i think they all need a pay cut.
Steffanie | 08.28.15 @ 14:22
The amount they earn is just sad. We really need to rethink how we pay these athletes.
Victor | 08.28.15 @ 14:28
Its incredible how much money you get for being talented in a sport. I wish I knew how to play tennis that well.
Sarah | 08.28.15 @ 14:30
I hate how this world pays others so much just to be able to watch them. What happened to games being games, thing done for the fun of it?
Angie | 08.28.15 @ 14:33
I would have thought that Serena's salary was the highest. I applaud these women, but, like Daniel, I would love it if people who were in charge of molding the next generation or who work in public servant positions received salaries that were more in line with the work they perform. Our entertainment must mean much more to us...
Christina | 08.28.15 @ 14:36
Really tired of seeing all these athletes making so much money for basically entertaining us, when teachers get the short end of the stick, yet are responsible for educating the next generation...
Jackie | 08.28.15 @ 14:37
I feel athletes are overpaid in comparison to teachers, police and firefighters.
Carla Truett | 08.28.15 @ 14:42
Who knew there was so much money in playing tennis? Wow! Being an athlete pays more than I ever imagined!
Erin | 08.28.15 @ 14:44
I see the highest paid athlete gets most of her money from endorsements, whereas Serena gets almost twice that by winning in her sport. Something seems off that the person who wins the most gets less money. Of course, I guess I shouldn't feel too badly since they're all making millions.
Zanna | 08.28.15 @ 14:45
Love watching these star athletes! Pulling for Serena to win with the calendar Grand Slam!
Britt | 08.28.15 @ 14:47
That's a lot of money! However, tennis seems like it would be a very demanding sport and would require you to be extremely fit - so I'd think it'd all be worth it.
Irene | 08.28.15 @ 14:53
They are all overpaid in my opinion, but as long as there are people willing to pay ridiculous prices for any sports event then they will all continue to be over paid.
Rindy | 08.28.15 @ 15:04
I know that athletes make the big bucks but every time I read it I still find it shocking that we pay them so much to entertain and play a game.
Kamie | 08.28.15 @ 15:13
On the bright side, at least they do not get paid even more to not play. The women do have to keep playing to be sponsored, and endorsed, not sit on a bench and not do anything. Still, the amount is crazy.
Ron | 08.28.15 @ 15:31
They get paid a lot to play a game for our entertainment and passion of sports, but they also get paid to sell merchandise. That said, Serena is the ultimate dominant force in Women's Tennis.
Elaine | 08.28.15 @ 15:46
I'm shocked that Serena is only second. I would have thought that she would have been pulling in the highest.
Nancy | 08.28.15 @ 15:57
The salaries of these women are just like all of the other overpaid athletes and celebrities--if we don't plop our money down to see them, they don't get paid. The obviously are supplying something that is in demand. Sad.
Bobbie | 08.28.15 @ 16:03
They have some crazy talent to be pulling in that kind of money. I wonder how it stacks up to what the men make?
Chelsey | 08.28.15 @ 16:10
I never knew that tennis could be such a high paying sport.I knew there was big money in endorsements. I think that the majority of the money they earn comes from prizes which means they get paid more based on talent. Either way they still get paid more than neccesarry
Beverly | 08.28.15 @ 16:21
Goof for them being able to make so much, it's just a shame that professional athletes get paid so much and people like teachers, police officers, firefighters, and our military so little.
Heather | 08.28.15 @ 17:23
It's good to finally see female athletes making that kind of money compared to men. But still athletes are way over paid.
Rychana Vingia | 08.28.15 @ 17:23
I find it a bit ridiculous that Serena is second. No other current female player is even close in the amount of titles that Serena has
Apryl | 08.28.15 @ 17:51
Unbelievable!
Donnie | 08.28.15 @ 18:05
The time of cheap entertainment is long gone
gracie | 08.28.15 @ 18:45
While it makes me happy to see such positive role models for girls growing up with the dreams that they truly can be anything if they work for it I still think athletes earn an extraordinary amount in comparison to other careers that are essential in our communities.
trish | 08.28.15 @ 19:00
I feel we need to reevaluate how we pay certain professions. Paying Athletes and Celebrities so astronomically, while paying teachers so poorly, shows we have our priorities backwards.
Christina | 08.28.15 @ 19:30
I need to show my kids these stories.. Wow!, thats a lot of money for playing a game.
Stokes | 08.28.15 @ 20:15
They all seem overpaid, but then most of these people sacrificed their childhood practicing. And as long as the general public continues spending more of their income on entertainment than they do on demanding higher pay for teacher and combat soldiers, or better benefits for veterans and the mentally ill, they'll continue making this kind of money. Don't blame the athlete for taking the money we're throwing at them.
Debbie | 08.28.15 @ 20:18
lets pay teachers more and athletes less
Andrea | 08.29.15 @ 14:04
I think all athletes male & female are paid way to much.
Vicki | 09.24.15 @ 17:31
That is Bouchard not Wozniaki.
Teddy | 09.29.15 @ 20:20
90% of tennis players wouldn't know how to do anything else...why the top players make more than $250K/year is beyond me!
Rita | 10.03.15 @ 15:13
Forbes is full of it, I guess if you don't count Serena's Wilson, Nike and Beats sponsors that would make Maria the higher paid player....lol
Florence Estelle | 10.04.15 @ 17:41
What about Roberta Vinci she beat SERENA at US Open now she think she is number one......long way to go ugly woman..
Carolyn | 10.17.15 @ 16:28
I don't understand why ROLEX,LEXUS HAVEN"T SIGN SPONSOR SERENA & VENUS WILLIAMS IN ALL THESE YEARS!!!!!
Francesca Thomas | 10.26.15 @ 14:29
Think about what the Tennis Association is making off of the players!! Then you can understand why they make so much....
jean | 10.27.15 @ 02:11
Most of you do not get it who are any of you to put a value on another persons talent Hush, haters, be happy for people, and remember that at one time this country practiced slavery, women no rights for equal pay, even in the tennis world the pay scale was uneven until recent. Think about a person who don't get paid for her work or talent .Now think about a people who worked four 400 hundred years and didn't get paid. Now look at the number 1 player in the world of tennis and the beat goes on still working and not getting paid her worth,maybe you get it now.
ANNEDOBSON | 01.28.16 @ 17:38
Has anyone ever thought how these athletes are able to be paid this amount of money. This is a business that earn probably 100% as much athletes are being paid. What they make they earn, granted some don't live up to the hype, but ... . I believe if whoever is paying them is able to make that much money off the athletes they should be pay the athlete after all they're bring in the money
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.10.16 @ 16:42
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