Being a professional athlete is certainly no small task. It demands an incredible amount of emotional and physical dedication, which is all but guaranteed to consume the life of the athlete, for as long as they intend on earning their living in the world of sports. This also means, of course, that the number of years an athlete can commit to the profession are limited.
To this end, it would serve anyone in this career to earn as much money as possible, while the opportunity is still available to him or her. Luckily, it turns out that a professional athlete can make an enormous amount of money, if they make the right moves, know the right people, and strike while the iron is hot.
These are the top 5 female athletes that earned the most, via sports endorsements and other means, in 2018.
Serena Williams is perhaps one of the most recognised tennis sports stars in the world. However, she has also made headlines in the tennis world for reasons other than her tennis skill in 2018, with her controversial rant on the court garnering both support and denouncement from the sporting world.
In terms of earnings, however, she certainly isn’t doing badly. Although actual tennis prize money earned her rather dismal $62,000 in 2018, endorsements earned her a whopping $18 million. Do keep in mind, though, that Serena was not active in tennis for much of 2018, due to having taken a break after the birth of her daughter. She has a total of 18 big brand endorsements to her name, including one from Nike. She also launched her own fashion collection, which is sure to help her retire more than comfortably.
Danish tennis professional Caroline Wozniacki was number one in tennis singles, and continues to be highly ranked. She did better in terms of official tennis earnings in 2018, with about $7 million earned on the court.
Although she has multiple endorsements, including from Adidas, Rolex, Babolat and more, she officially earned less that Serena in this department, with about $6 million raked in over the year. Though, with her own line of sunglasses recently released through Ovvo Optics, chances are that amount is going to go up.
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American tennis star Sloane Stephens is next on the list. If you haven’t already figured it out by now, professional tennis is where female athletes are really raking in the cash. Stephens won a Grand Slam title in 2017, which helped her make 2018 a great year, as far as earnings are concerned.
She brought in $5.7 million via tennis, and an additional $5.5 million via brands such as Chocolate Milk, Nike, Mercedes Benz, and Rolex, among others. Since 2002, she is the first American woman, other than the famed Williams sisters, to win a Grand Slam.
This tennis icon is Spanish/Venezuelan by heritage, and was likewise ranked number 1 in singles. Her winning a second Grand Slam title last year helped catapult her earning potential over the course of 2018. Her professional and endorsement earnings were tied at about $5.5 million, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
She was recently signed by Evian for an extended global marketing campaign, which more or less secures her future as a big earner. Secondary endorsement deals have been signed with Adidas, Beats by Dr Dre, Rolex, and many others.
Last on the list we have, you probably guessed it by now, another professional tennis player. Maria Sharapova is well known throughout the world, and acclaimed as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. She earned only $1 million in her profession over 2018, but made enormous strides in her endorsement deals.
An extended deal was struck with UBS, due to continue on for multiple years into the future. She is already endorsed by a number of prestigious brands, including, of course, Nike, as well as Porsche, and Evian. Her personal brand, Sugarpova, likewise saw additional deals being struck, furthering its reach across the world. Total endorsement earnings for 2018 sat at around $9.5 million.