Once again, Serena Williams has topped Forbes‘ list of the world’s highest-paid female athletes. However, her reported earnings may surprise some — considering the tennis pro’s nearly 14-month hiatus from the sport.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion took a break after announcing in January 2017 that she was pregnant with her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., who was born in September.
During the last 12 months, Williams netted only $62,000 in winnings. (Keep in mind that she worked just four months out of the tracked period.) But her endorsement portfolio has afforded her earnings of a whopping $18.1 million — the most among all female athletes for the third consecutive year.
Williams boasts a wide range of big-name sponsors, including sportswear giant Nike, luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet, audio electronics company Beats, sports beverage manufacturer Gatorade and multinational investment bank JPMorgan Chase.
According to the business magazine, only 16 male athletes in the world made more than the tennis powerhouse in sponsorships over that same year period. She also earned twice as much off the court as any other female athlete.
Additionally, Williams recently launched her own namesake clothing line, with rollouts scheduled this summer and in the fall. The collection includes a metallic jacket and satin jogger as well as intimates such as a bralette and high-waist briefs.
The list’s release comes just as the US Open kicks off at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. Williams is a six-time US Open champion.
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