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Thu Apr 24 05:51:14 SAST 2014

Sharapova heads list of top paid female athletes

Reuters | 31 July, 2012 09:110 Comments
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

French Open champion Maria Sharapova held her perch atop the list of the world’s highest paid women in professional sports for an eighth consecutive year, according to an annual survey released by Forbes on Monday.

The 25-year-old Russian, one of seven tennis players listed in the top 10, earned an estimated $27,1 million from July 2011-July 2012, with most of that coming from off-court endorsements.

That was 47% above her nearest rival Li Na of China, whose 2011 French Open victory helped the world number 11 to more than double her earnings to $18,4 million from $8 million in last year’s survey.

Former world number one tennis players Serena Williams ($16,3 million) of the United States and Caroline Wozniacki ($13,7 million) of Denmark and NASCAR’s Danica Patrick ($13 million) rounded out the top five.

Current world number one tennis player Victoria Azarenka ($9,7 million) of Belarus, Ana Ivanovic ($7,2 million) of Serbia and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska ($6,9 million) were the other tennis players among the top 10.

Women’s Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea was seventh with $9 million of earnings while Taiwanese world number one golfer Yani Tseng was 10th with $6,1 million.         

Top five women earners

1. Maria Sharapova, tennis, $27,1 million

2. Li Na, tennis, $18,4 million

3. Serena Williams, tennis, 16,3 million

4. Caroline Wozniacki, tennis, $13,7 million

5. Danica Patrick, motor racing, $13 million

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