Tennis Phenom Naomi Osaka Vaults Past Serena Williams to Become Top-Earning Female Athlete

Not bad for the 22-year-old tennis player.

Move over Serena, make room for Naomi Osaka! Osaka has just set an all-time earnings record for a female athlete in a single year according to Forbes.

What We Know:

  • The young tennis phenom has earned $37.4 million over the past 12 months from prize money and endorsements. That is $1.4 million more than Serena Williams has earned in the same period. The previous record was $29.7 million back in 2015 by Maria Sharapova.
  • Osaka is no. 29 overall, with Williams at no. 33 on Forbes’ annual list of the 100 top-earning athletes.
  • Osaka beat Williams in the 2018 US Open Final and then added the 2019 Australian Open title, allowing her to become the first player from Asia to be no. 1 in the women’s or men’s tennis rankings.

“To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story. Combine that with being youthful and bicultural, two attributes that help her resonate with younger, global audiences, and the result is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon.” – David Carter; Sports Business Professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business


  • Osaka’s Florida-based mixed heritage – she has a Japanese mother and Haitian-American father – her engaging personality and attacking style of play have combined to make her one of the world’s most marketable athletes. Two of her biggest endorsement deals are with Nike and Body Armor.

  • Tennis superstars Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Serena Williams and now Osaka are the only women to rank among the 100 top earners in sports since 2012. Every year since Forbes started tracking data, the highest-paid female athlete every year has been a tennis player, with Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis being the top earners for most of the 1990s.

Osaka has earned $14.6 million in career prize money, according to the WTA, a little under half of which was made last year.




Dominique Browder is a Digital Content Creator for UnmutedCo. Dominique is creating news content for Black News Alerts website, social media and newsletter. She enjoys the freedom and loose structure at UnmutedCo and loves how she is able to gain a more hands-on experience. When she is not writing and researching content, Dominique lends her skills to empowering women.