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TOP EARNERS

Naomi Osaka tops highest-paid 2021 female athlete listing

The reigning Australian Open champion is currently defending her crown in Melbourne and the tennis star was the highest paid female athlete for 2021.

Update:
Japan's Naomi Osaka speaks after the women's singles match against Madison Brengle of the US on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 19, 2022. (Photo by Martin KEEP / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL
MARTIN KEEPAFP

Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka is currently in action in Melbourne as she found a way out of a second-set blip to beat American Madison Brengle 6-0 6-4 and reach the  third round of the tournament, staying on course for a potential fourth-round clash with top-ranked Ash Barty.

The Japanese 24-year-old, who also won the Melbourne Park title in 2019, will next meet 60th-ranked American Amanda Anisimova with a mouthwatering clash against Australian Barty potentially waiting in the round of 16.

Osaka was also named by Forbes as the highest earning female athlete for 2021 with a combined total earning figure for the yer of $57.3 million. Lucrative sponsorship collaborations with the likes of Luis Vuitton, Nike, Sweetgreen and Tag Hauer have been instrumental despite a mixed year on the court for the Japanese star. 

Williams sisters join the podium

Tennis stars also secure second and third positions on the Forbes listing with elder Williams sister Serena in second place with a 2021 earning of $45.9 million. Despite dropping to 41st place in the WTA rankings, her deals with the likes of Nike, DirecTV and Gatorade and executive producer role in the factual drama film King Richard ensured that lack of on-court success was offset by healthy financial income.

Venus also played her part as executive producer on the Warner Bros. King Richard film and also enjoyed a disappointing year in a sporting capacity winning only three matches in the entire calendar year. Her $11.3 million income was thanks to existing sponsorship deals with brands such as K-Swiss and her own sports brand EleVen.

The tennis heavy top three is broken up with US gymnast Simone Biles at fourth position ($10.1 million). Despite pressure at the Tokyo games that saw the 24-year-old pull out of a series of events, her brave stance on mental health awareness has resonated well with brands.

Spain's Garbine Muguruza reacts after a point against France's Alize Cornet during their women's singles match on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2022. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) / --
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Spain's Garbine Muguruza reacts after a point against France's Alize Cornet during their women's singles match on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2022. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) / --WILLIAM WESTAFP

The remaining positions in the Forbes Top 10 are held by: Garbiñe Muguruza (tennis) in fifth position with a 2021 earning of $8.8 million. South Korean golf star Jin Young Ko is in sixth place with $7.5 million ahead of Indian badminton star P.V. Sindhu on $7.2 million. Tennis features again with Ashleigh Barty in eighth place with $6.9 million. Nelly Korda (golf) on $5.9 million and basketball's Candace Parker close out the top ten with the WNBA star earning $5.7 last year.

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