Sequel to her triumphant victory over Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open – which was the biggest win of her career – Naomi Osaka has been named by Forbes as the highest-paid female athlete. At just 22, the black Tennis star has now topped her legendary rival in earnings such as prize money and endorsements.
Forbes reported that Osaka earned a whopping $37.4 million in the last 12 months which made her beat Williams by $1.4 million to earn the top spot.
In the last four years, Serena dominated the top spot. Also, Maria Sharapova graced the spot in 2015 with $29.7 million in earnings and endorsements.
Forbes further announced that since 2016, Osaka and Williams are the only two black women to make the magazine’s list for the highest-paid athletes in 2020.
“To those outside the tennis world, Naomi is a relatively fresh face with a great back story,” says David Carter, a sports business professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business.
“Merged that with being youthful and bicultural, two traits that help her resonate with younger, global audiences, and the outcome is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon.”
According to Forbes, Osaka’s backstory played a crucial role in her earnings, since her skills are undeniably great.
The Haitian-American native who also won the 2018 U.S. Open has signed endorsement deals with the likes of Procter & Gamble, All Nippon Airways and Nissan to market their products in the next games.
She also has a citizenship status with Japan and has decided to represent Japan in the next Olympics – which has been rescheduled for 2021 because of COVID-19. It has been said that Osaka’s overall story and racial background has allowed her to appeal to a wide range of consumers and be an ideal spokesperson. She is ranked the 10th best tennis player in the world.