Naomi Osaka, Japanese tennis player, has become the highest-earning female athlete ever, toppling Serena Williams, her US counterpart, at the top of the rankings.
Forbes revealed that Osaka’s earnings of $37.4 million — in the last 12 months — from prize money and endorsements were $1.4 million more than what Williams earned in the same period.
The 22-year-old Japanese jewel’s rise to the top of the economic ladder ended the US star’s four-year monopoly at the top, where she annually posted between $18-29 million pre-tax income — in a career that has raked in almost $300 million in endorsements.
Osaka has also been a thorn in Williams’ flesh in recent years, defeating her mentor at the 2018 US Open final to capture her first Grand Slam title.
Her latest economic victory should further infuriate the 23-time Grand Slam titles winner who controversially received three code violations from the umpire during the encounter.
Osaka’s earnings also broke the record for the highest in a single year by a female athlete, eclipsing Maria Sharapova’s record of $29.7 million in 2015.
Despite her huge earnings, Osaka ranks only 29th overall among sports stars in terms of total earnings in the past year, Forbes said, while Williams is relegated to 33rd position.
According to Forbes, the complete list, due to be released next week, has not featured two women since 2016.
Osaka turned pro in 2014 and has so far snagged five career titles, including two Grand Slams titles at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open respectively, and WTA’s prestigious Indian Wells title.
She is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam and the first Asian to be ranked number one tennis player in the world.