Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova Top Forbes List of Highest-Paid Female Athletes

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2015

Winner Serena Williams of the U.S., left, and  runner-up Maria Sharapova of Russia, right, wait for the trophy presentation after the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Vincent Thian/Associated Press

Maria Sharapova may play second fiddle to Serena Williams on the tennis court, but the global superstar is still tops among female athletes when it comes to raking in the cash.

According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com, the five-time Grand Slam winner from Russia is the world's highest-paid female athlete for the 11th consecutive year, with Serena checking in at No. 2. Here is a look at the top 10:

World's Highest-Paid Female Athletes of 2015
RankingAthleteSportTotal Earnings
1Maria SharapovaTennis$29.2 million
2Serena WilliamsTennis$24.6 million
3Caroline WozniackiTennis$14.6 million
4Danica PatrickAuto Racing$13.9 million
5Ana IvanovicTennis$8.3 million
6Petra KvitovaTennis$7.7 million
7Simona HalepTennis$6.8 million
8Ronda RouseyMMA$6.5 million
9Stacy LewisGolf$6.4 million
10Agnieszka RadwanskaTennis$6 million
Forbes

Sharapova and Williams are head and shoulders above the rest of the field, with estimated earnings of $29.7 million and $24.6 million, respectively, from June 2014 through June 2015 via prize money and endorsements. They carry the flag for the sport of tennis, which dominates the list with seven women in the top 10.

NASCAR's Danica Patrick is the first non-tennis player on the list at No. 4, while UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey—who is arguably the most popular female athlete in the world currently—is only No. 8, with total earnings of $6.5 million.

Despite Rousey's popularity and drawing power, Valentina Zarya of Fortune.com found that she makes less than her top male counterparts when it comes to showing up and winning. In that same article, though, UFC spokesperson Dave Sholler claimed that Rowdy is among the highest-paid UFC fighters, all things considered.

"Rousey is currently making more in UFC compensation than any other current champion. She is the leader in the club house," Sholler said. "[Salary secrecy is] largely because we're a private company, but also because many of our athletes don't want their salaries disclosed."

While female athletes are earning more now than ever before, there is still work to be done when it comes to equality, as no woman cracks the list of the top 25 highest-paid athletes overall, per Forbes.com.

Tennis is seemingly ahead of the curve when it comes to compensating its female players well, but now the onus is on other sports to follow suit.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter. 

Related

    Expert NFL Week 15 Picks ✅

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Expert NFL Week 15 Picks ✅

    NFL Staff
    via Bleacher Report

    Massive NBA Contracts That Could Bury Teams

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Massive NBA Contracts That Could Bury Teams

    Adam Fromal
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Rookies Who Will Shine Next Season

    Featured logo
    Featured

    NFL Rookies Who Will Shine Next Season

    Maurice Moton
    via Bleacher Report

    Sexton Has Emerged as ROY Contender

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Sexton Has Emerged as ROY Contender

    Greg Swartz
    via Bleacher Report