Naomi Osaka is Now the Highest-Paid Female Athlete Ever After Earning $37.4 Million

Naomi Osaka has topped Maria Sharapova to become the highest-paid female athlete in history.

Over the last year, the 22-year-old tennis star reportedly earned $37.4 million in prizes and endorsements, according to Forbes.

That pre-tax sum is $1.4 million more than her childhood hero Serena Williams, the world’s highest-paid female athlete from 2016 to 2019.

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Until Osaka, however, Sharapova was the highest-paid female athlete in history, having earned $29.7 million in 2015.

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand during her Women’s Singles third round match against Coco Gauff of the United States on day five of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Image via Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

Born in Japan and raised in the U.S., the Haitian Japanese Osaka turned pro in 2014, just a month before turning 16. Her road to glory became imminent when she took home back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the 2018 U.S. Open and the 2019 Australian Open.

Those victories also catapulted her to become the world’s first No. 1 Asian tennis player. For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — which has been moved to next year — she chose to represent Japan, where reporters, comedians and advertisers have sparked controversy when approaching her.

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Osaka won $3.8 million at the 2018 U.S. Open and $2.9 million at the 2019 Australian Open, according to CNBC.

“I’m not really the type that spends money on myself,” she told reporters after the U.S. Open. “For me, as long as my family’s happy, I’m happy. So when I see my sister … for me, that’s the biggest gift.”

Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts during her match against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain during the Fed Cup BNP Paribas World Cup qualifiers first round at Centro de Tenis La Manga on Feb. 7, 2020 in Cartagena, Spain. Image via Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

Osaka’s Grand Slams also triggered an endorsement bidding war between Adidas and Nike. Nike ultimately beat her former sponsor and paid her over $10 million in a contract that runs from 2019 to 2025.

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This brings Osaka to a current total of 15 endorsements. Aside from Nike, she has partnered with brands such as All Nippon Airways, Mastercard, Nissan Motor, Shiseido and Yonex.

 

Despite her undeniable talent, Osaka initially struggled with interviews. But she has vowed to make the most of her platform.

“There’s a lot of times where I see myself in situations where I could have put my input in, but instead I’ve held my tongue and things kept moving in a way that I didn’t really enjoy,” she told CNN Sport earlier this month. “I feel like if I asserted myself I would have gotten the opportunity to see what would have happened.”

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Osaka now ranks 39th in the top 100 highest-paid athletes. Forbes is releasing the full list this week.

Feature Images via Getty

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