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.

The U.S. women’s national team faced massive attention and expectations at the 2023 World Cup, as displayed in the new trailer for its Netflix docuseries.

The four-episode series, titled “Under Pressure,” will debut on the streaming service on Dec. 12. It chronicles the USWNT’s World Cup journey, which ended in disappointment in a Round of 16 shootout loss to Sweden.

In the trailer, Savannah DeMelo, who had made just one appearance for the USWNT before heading to the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, offers a brutal comparison to Suzanne Collins’ popular book series: “It felt like we were in ‘The Hunger Games’ or something.”

The trailer also features co-captains Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan encouraging the team on the quest for a third straight World Cup title.

“Pressure is a privilege on this team,” Horan tells her teammates. “Look at everyone around you. Look at me and Alex.”

Megan Rapinoe, Kelley O’Hara, Kristie Mewis and Lynn Williams also feature prominently, as do former players Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd. Lloyd made waves during the 2023 World Cup for her harsh criticism of the USWNT.

“You can never take winning ever for granted,” Lloyd is heard saying in the trailer.

U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, who won the 1999 World Cup with the USWNT, sums up the trailer and the team’s unfulfilled goal, saying: “To win one is hard. To win two in a row, unbelievable. To win three? It has never been done.”

Megan Rapinoe left her last professional soccer game under unfortunate circumstances — after less than three minutes on the pitch, she went down with a torn Achilles.

Rapinoe’s international playing career also ended unceremoniously after she missed a penalty kick in the USWNT’s Round of 16 loss to Sweden in the 2023 World Cup, eliminating them from the tournament.

On the latest episode of the “Snacks” podcast, Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams discuss how small those two moments look in the scope of Rapinoe’s legendary career. 

“I just feel like she’s had such an amazing career. And the last two things, both her national team and club, have been pretty devastating endings, so I just feel for her,” Williams said. “But none of this is … gonna put a damper on her career as a whole.”

Williams, Rapinoe’s opponent in the NWSL Championship, explained that she and Rapinoe were making jokes about the injury after the match, laughing to hold back tears over the way Rapinoe’s last game ended. Instead of “riding off into retirement,” as Williams described it, Rapinoe is headed to rehab again, no longer as a professional soccer player.

Mewis agrees that the injury in her final match doesn’t take anything away from Rapinoe’s accomplishments throughout her career.

“Like you said, I feel like nothing could tarnish her career,” Mewis said. “I just have so much respect for her. Even the three minutes that she played, she served in a really dangerous cross. I think, what an incredible player.

“She’s done so much for the game, like you and I both admire her so much.”

Megan Rapinoe underwent surgery to repair the torn Achilles tendon in her right leg, she and OL Reign announced Wednesday.

The longtime U.S. women’s national team and OL Reign forward sustained the injury early in the 2023 NWSL Championship, which also was the final match of her storied career.

“I wasn’t overly emotional about it,” Rapinoe said after OL Reign’s 2-1 loss to Gotham FC. “I mean, f—ing yeeted my Achilles in the sixth minute in my last game ever in the literal championship game.”

Her former USWNT teammate Christen Press, though, couldn’t hold back her own emotions while watching the game at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, as Tobin Heath shared on the latest episode of their podcast, “The RE-CAP Show.”

“I was looking around trying to see if the stadium was processing what was happening,” Heath said. “And I looked over you and you were crying. And it was such a complicated moment of feelings.”

“We just were not ready for the end to come right at the beginning,” Press said. “And when I texted Pinoe after the game, I told her: Three tears hit the floor. That’s what happened, three giant, real tears hit the floor underneath my shoes.

“And you know what I thought? I thought, those aren’t tears of pity. She’s too important. She’s had too big of a career. She’s had too much success and joy playing this sport for us to have pity. That would be a disservice to the legacy that she’s leaving.

“And the tears fell from my face with love and pride to be able to have shared the field and the locker room with someone who has had such a long-lasting impact and will continue to have that long-lasting impact.”

Rapinoe handled the injury with grace during the championship match, even as her teammates and opponents spoke of their devastation on her behalf. And that continued as she began her recovery.

“Surgery a success. Home, resting, being taken care of,” she wrote on Instagram, tagging her fiancée Sue Bird. “Thank you for all the love, well wishes and good vibes sent my way.”

Megan Rapinoe officially retired from professional soccer after her appearance in the NWSL Championship match on Nov. 11. Upon Rapinoe’s retirement, Alex Morgan shared her parting words for the American soccer icon.

Rapinoe and Morgan have been fixtures of the U.S. women’s national team together since 2010, when Morgan made her debut for the side. Thirteen years and two World Cup victories later, and the partnership is finally separating — at least on the pitch. 

Two days after Rapinoe’s final match, Morgan shared the emotional farewell speech she gave in tribute to her longtime teammate.

“P, you clearly mean so much to me and all of us,” Morgan said. “This team is in good hands, but it is in good hands, in large part, because of you and what you’ve done for this team.”

Rapinoe and Morgan are two key figures in a revolution for women’s soccer in the United States. Along with having historic soccer careers and great success on the field, both players advocated for equal pay for the U.S. women’s national team. Rapinoe, Morgan and the USWNT won their battle with U.S. Soccer in 2022 and earned a new contract for their team along with $22 million in backpay from the league. 

And Rapinoe has no plans to disappear from the world of soccer. Rapinoe and her fiancée Sue Bird began a production company together to which Rapinoe plans to dedicate more time. Rapinoe also mentioned a desire to continue to work in the OL Reign organization during the postgame press conference after the team’s 2-1 loss to Gotham FC in the NWSL Championship.

Rapinoe changed the landscape of women’s soccer in the U.S. with Morgan and other members of the national team by her side, and it doesn’t seem like she has plans of stopping in retirement. 

“Congratulations on the next chapter in life,” Morgan said. “And I hope you just ride off into the sunset because your work here is done.”

Sue Bird is welcoming fiancée Megan Rapinoe into retirement with open arms.

Rapinoe played in her final professional soccer game in Saturday’s 2023 NWSL Championship. The OL Reign star exited after just six minutes with a suspected Achilles injury in the 1-0 loss to Gotham FC, and her teammates and opponents alike called the turn of events “devastating” for the soccer legend.

“I just feel so gutted for her. Honestly, I never thought that would ever happen,” fellow retiree and Gotham captain Ali Krieger said. “And I feel so sad because you know football is such a risk, right? And you never know if it’s going to be your last game, your last moment.

“And to happen to such an incredible player, in that moment … It just is so sad and I feel for her and I’m gonna be there every step of the way for her recovery. … And I never wanted that to happen because I wanted to celebrate with her at the end.”

Bird, who has been in a relationship with Rapinoe since 2017, retired from professional basketball last year as one of the greatest players in WNBA history. In a post on Instagram Stories, the Seattle Storm great welcomed Rapinoe into retirement.

“Cheer to you, baby! To an unbelievable career, to all you’ve accomplished, and to all the lives you’ve impacted along the way,” she wrote. “It’s not how you wanted it to end. It’s not how any of us wanted it to end, but the truth is a legacy like yours has no ending.

“Even though you’re saying goodbye to the game, you’ll be saying hello to a whole lot more and that legacy will just continue to grow. Congratulations and welcome to retirement!! I’ve been waiting for you.”

Gotham FC celebrated the first NWSL title in franchise history in raucous fashion, and midfielder Kristie Mewis chronicled all the action.

After defeating OL Reign, 2-1, in the championship match, Gotham players marked the occasion in the traditional manner: a team dogpile, followed by the trophy presentation and locker room party. But they added their own twists, throwing in a toss of retiring captain Ali Krieger, an on-field conga line and an improvised slip-and-slide.

A connoisseur of championship bashes, Mewis established her credentials in the aftermath of the Houston Dash’s 2020 Challenge Cup tournament victory. And she brought that experience to bear Saturday at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium.

She documented the celebration in a series of videos posted to her Instagram Stories, with teammates Kelley O’Hara and Lynn Williams among those featured. She also posted a photo and a video with just one caption between them: “Dudeeeeeeeeee.”

From Midge Purce receiving the match MVP award to Ali Krieger hoisting the new NWSL championship trophy to Gotham players attempting to drink from said trophy, check out some of the best scenes from the post-victory revelry.

Teammates lift Gotham captain Ali Krieger, who won her first NWSL title in the final match of her career. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Kristie Mewis celebrates Gotham's title win on the podium at Snapdragon Stadium. (Ben Nichols/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Midge Purce won the Championship MVP award after assisting on each of Gotham's goals in the 2-1 win. (Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports)
Ali Krieger hoists the NWSL Championship trophy with her teammates. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Lynn Williams and Kristie Mewis lead Gotham teammates in a conga line after their championship win. (Jessica Alcheh/USA TODAY Sports)
Kristie Mewis celebrates Gotham FC's title win. (Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports)
Gotham FC players attempt to drink from the decidedly not cup-shaped NWSL Championship trophy. (Jessica Alcheh/USA TODAY Sports)
Gotham FC players turn the floor of the Snapdragon Stadium locker room into an impromptu slip-and-slide. (Jessica Alcheh/USA TODAY Sports)

No one can ever accuse Megan Rapinoe of following a well-trodden path, even in the final moments of her career. The pink-haired iconoclast, two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist wrote the final word in her illustrious career in a fashion no one could have expected, not even herself.

Her ending didn’t follow the fairytale story of the previous week. Instead, it went like this: She sat down in the sixth minute of Saturday’s NWSL Championship, shaking her head with a wry grin as she called for OL Reign’s trainers. She gingerly walked off the pitch in her final moments as a professional soccer player, having to watch on the sidelines as the Reign fell, 2-1, to Gotham FC.

“I wasn’t overly emotional about it,” Rapinoe said after the match of the moment immediately following the injury. “I mean, f—ing yeeted my Achilles in the sixth minute of my last game ever in the literal championship game.”

Rose Lavelle, a longtime Reign and U.S. women’s national teammate of Rapinoe, was the first person to reach her as she sat on the ground, shaking her head. Rapinoe didn’t mince words, telling Lavelle right away she was confident she had torn her right Achilles tendon.

“I think when she first said that, I said, ‘Are you effing joking me?” Lavelle told the media after the game.

After a week of buildup, wherein the battle of retiring legends in Rapinoe and Gotham defender Ali Krieger provided the banner headline for the 2023 NWSL Championship, only Krieger saw out the rest of the match. The two good friends shared a hug as Rapinoe left the field, before the restart of play required a refocus from both sides.

“I was just like, ‘You need to wrap that up and get back out here, so just take a couple minutes,’” Krieger said after the game. “I just feel so gutted for her. Honestly, I never thought that that would ever happen, and I feel so sad because you know football is such a risk, right? And you never know if it’s going to be your last game, your last moment.”

True to form, though, Rapinoe didn’t let herself hide away in the locker room while her team pushed to regain momentum. After being given a boot and crutches, she re-emerged on the sideline, cheering her teammates and giving tips even as she had to perch piggyback-style on the back of backup goalkeeper Laurel Ivory.

“I don’t wanna sit there and sulk on the bench,” Rapinoe said. “It’s not just any player going out, it’s me, and it’s my last game ever. So I just wanted to try to stay in it and keep it light, and I just wanted to be in it for myself too.”

The Reign almost completed the comeback twice, after falling behind first on a goal by Lynn Williams and then again by Esther González. Despite clearly dealing with shaken emotions, Rapinoe’s teammates stuck to their game plan, keeping the game in front of them until the very last minute of stoppage time.

The Seattle club’s title hopes remained alive in large part due to the play of Lavelle. The Reign midfielder broke the Gotham line with a piercing run in the first half, drawing Seattle level 1-1. She then played facilitator, breaking lines again with searching passes that her teammates couldn’t put in the back of the net. Even as Gotham sat deeper in their full-team defense, Lavelle could find spaces through her vision and her dribbling ability, which proved worthy of the appreciation of the 25,000-plus fans in attendance.

But in the chaotic final moments of second-half stoppage time, Lavelle herself couldn’t quite land a direct free kick from just outside the box. She was facing field player Nealy Martin in goal after Gotham keeper Amanda Haught received a red card due to intentionally handling the ball outside the penalty area.

“I just told her I was sorry we couldn’t get it done for her,” Lavelle said of Rapinoe. “And it’s just been such an honor to be able to share the field with her and sit next to her in the locker room.”

Rapinoe’s final moments as a professional might have not gone as she’d pictured, but they weren’t defined by her slow walk off the pitch, or by the Reign falling short. Her legacy remains the same, upheld by her willingness to immediately get back out in front of the crowd, and her teammates, to try to will them forward in any way she could.

“I think the energy Pinoe gave us was huge,” Lavelle said. “I can’t even imagine that moment in her head. And I think to still be having such a good attitude and cheering us on through it all was like, I mean, she’s amazing.”

OL Reign defender Lauren Barnes, Rapinoe’s club teammate of 11 years, agreed, saying: “I think you’d never expect something like this to happen, and it does. And she carries herself like she always has. She is the heart and soul of our club.”

In the aftermath of Rapinoe’s final game, her teammates reflected on her impact.

“You guys know,” Barnes said of the legacy of the leaders at the Reign, including herself, Rapinoe, and Jess Fishlock.. “You’ve been writing it for 11 years what our legacy is, and we just want to embody that, and we truly want to share it with the fans as much as we possibly can. So these [tears] are real. We love each other. So yeah, it’s hard and it’s gonna be different. It’s never the same now.”

In the sixth minute of the 2023 NWSL Championship, her final match as a professional soccer player, OL Reign forward Megan Rapinoe exited with a leg injury.

After her team’s 2-1 loss to Gotham FC, Rapinoe’s head coach, teammates and opponents reacted to the unexpected ending to a legendary career.

Ali Krieger, Gotham FC defender

(On what she told Rapinoe immediately after the injury) “I was just like, ‘You need to wrap that up and get back out here, so go take a couple minutes.’ And I just feel so gutted for her. Honestly, I never thought that would ever happen.

“And I feel so sad because you know football is such a risk, right? And you never know if it’s going to be your last game, your last moment. And to happen to such an incredible player, in that moment, when there was such a buildup and for us talking about this game for the past week, or actually since Sept. 13. It just is so sad and I feel for her and I’m gonna be there every step of the way for her recovery because I know how hard that can be and it’s devastating. … And I never wanted that to happen because I wanted to celebrate with her at the end.”

Midge Purce, Gotham FC forward

“It was when I saw her put her head back, I knew, I’ve seen Pinoe go down, and it was just really sad.

“And then one of the girls on their team started crying, and I turned to (Yazmeen Ryan) and I said, ‘Let’s go at her,’ because she was clearly upset. I mean, I think that definitely affected them a lot. I think it affected their concentration. And that’s sports.

“So I’m so sorry that that’s how it ended. But I don’t think it defines or in any way characterizes her impact that she’s had on myself, on this league, everything.”

Rose Lavelle, OL Reign midfielder

“It seems like a sick joke that it has to end that way. It’s just been such an honor to be able to share the field with her. So I wish we could’ve gotten it done today for her but yeah, she’s amazing and she didn’t deserve that. … I feel like she just takes it on the chin and she was still our biggest fan out there.”

Lauren Barnes, OL Reign defender

“You want Pinoe on the field as long as she can be. She is the tactic. … You’d never expect something like this to happen, and it does, and she carries herself like she always has. She is the heart and soul of our club.”

Laura Harvey, OL Reign head coach

(On Rapinoe returning to the sidelines on crutches to cheer on the team) “Pinoe, you know, she cares about the team. She cares about the club. She’d never have it any other way. And obviously everyone was devastated for her.”

While Megan Rapinoe’s career ended in injury in the 2023 NWSL Championship, the two-time World Cup winner leaves the game a legend.

Her career brought with it triumph and controversy, as Rapinoe became a lightning rod for criticism due to her outspoken activism. But she left the pitch for the final time as an icon. Her final regular-season home game set viewership and attendance records for the NWSL, and players and fans alike have had nothing but good things to say as the 38-year-old forward prepared to make her goodbyes.

“I think we always knew that the most powerful voice in the room was Pinoe,” OL Reign coach Laura Harvey said of Rapinoe in October. “And she never shied away from that. She was always willing to put herself in front of all the bullets that everyone was willing to throw at her to try and better the club internally.”

OL Reign’s goal to get Rapinoe her one and only NWSL championship did not come to fruition. But maybe that’s OK.

After all, this is a player that has seen, won and done almost everything else. She’s won two World Cups, an Olympic gold medal, the Ballon d’Or, Best FIFA Women’s Player and more. She even has a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

And she will go down in history as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

So much has been said about Rapinoe and what she has meant to this game since she announced her retirement ahead of the World Cup. And now she says goodbye to the game. But it’s not goodbye for good.

“I’m going to be a part of this next phase of women’s sports, not just soccer hopefully, but even beyond that,” Rapinoe said in October. “So many players in this generation have had such a huge part in building the foundation and the beginning stages of what is a really exciting time in women’s sports.

“I’m not going to miss out on the fruits of that labor, and just disappear and not be a part of it. I think I have so much to offer.”