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Tennis stars dominate Forbes’ list of highest-paid women athletes

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Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

A tennis player once again topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid female athletes, with Iga Swiatek taking over the top spot.

She becomes just the fourth athlete to top the list after Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Maria Sharapova. Both Williams and Osaka had maintained a hold on the list in recent years, with Osaka taking the top spot in 2022. But Williams has retired and Osaka sat out the 2023 season to have her first child, leaving the top spot for Swiatek.

The 22-year-old Polish tennis player brought in an estimated $23.9 million in 2023, which included $9.9 million in on-court earnings after winning the women’s singles title at the French Open. She also added four new endorsement deals.

Twelve of the 20 highest-paid women athletes play tennis, as well as nine of the top 10. Eileen Gu, who came in second on the list, is the only non-tennis player to feature inside the top 10. She made $22.1 million in 2023, with the majority of her earnings coming from endorsements.

Coco Gauff, who won the 2023 US Open, placed third on the list with an estimated $21.7 million in earnings.

Even despite her break, Osaka still sits at fifth on the list having brought in $15 million in endorsements. She’s set to make her return to competitive tennis in the new year, which will include an appearance at the Australian Open.

Combined, the top 20 earners made roughly $226 million in 2023. It’s a drop from the $258 million made in 2022, but the retirement of Williams, who made $41.3 million last year, played a large part in the decrease. Still, the median for the top 20 earners increased from last year to $8.5 million (up from $7.3 million), and eight athletes surpassed $10 million. That number matches last year’s total – which set a record – and is double the number from 2021.

Other athletes inside the top 20 include golfer Nelly Korda, U.S. women’s national soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, gymnast Simone Biles and WNBA star Candace Parker.