(FILES) This file contains the US Open Womens single champion Naomi Osaka (L) from Japan on September 8, 2018 Taken with Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is the highest paid athlete in the world and has earned $ 37.4 million in a record earnings in the past 12 months, Forbes magazine reported on Friday.
The 22-year-old Asian star, a two-time Grand Slam champion, beat US rival Serena Williams by $ 1.4 million in prize money and advertising revenue last year.
Both have the old $ 29.7 million one-year profit mark set in 2015 by Russian Maria Sharapova, who retired in February with five grand slam titles, including a career slam , Broken.
"For those outside of the tennis world, Osaka is a fairly fresh face with a great background story," David Carter, professor of sports economics at the University of Southern California, told Forbes.
"Combine that with youthfulness and biculturalism – two qualities that help her appeal to a younger, global audience – and the result is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon."
Osaka, whose father was born in Haiti and whose mother is Japanese, ranks 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of the 100 highest paid athletes in the world, four places ahead of Williams, who won 23 individual Grand Slam titles.
According to the magazine, the full list to be published next week has not included two women since 2016.
38-year-old Williams has been the highest paid athlete in the world for the past four years. Sharapova ruled five years earlier.
Williams had annual earnings of $ 18-29 million and raised nearly $ 300 million, much of it in advertising contracts.
Osaka won Grand Slam titles in a row at the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open. Her controversial and historic victory over Williams in the Flushing Meadows final was the first single slam crown for a Japanese woman.
Osaka was a popular supporting figure in Japan before the now postponed Tokyo Olympics and was intended to remain a sponsorship dream for the games planned for next year.
Nike signed a clothing contract with Osaka last year, which earned her $ 10 million last year and runs until 2025. Other advertising contracts include clubs from Nissan and Yonex.
Since Forbes began recording women's earnings in 1990, tennis players have topped the list of top female earnings recipients every year.
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