Maria Sharapova Is The World’s Highest-Paid Female Athlete For 11th Straight Year

Maria Sharapova once again tops Forbes‘ list of highest-paid female athletes for the 11th consecutive year with total annual earnings of $29.7 million. Maria Sharapova edged out World number one tennis player Serena Williams, who raked in $24.6 million within the same period.

Earnings tallied include money earned from winnings, appearances, business interests, licenses, and endorsements covering a span of 12 months from June 2014 through June 2015.

As reported in Inquisitr, Serena Williams is regarded by many as the most dominant player not just in tennis but in all sports. Maria Sharapova, however, appears to be the better businesswoman, whose list of endorsement partners include Nike, Porsche, TAG Heuer, Avon, and Evian.

The 28-year-old Maria Sharapova earned $6.7 million in prize winnings, the bulk of which she received as bonuses from Nike and Head at the Roland Garros tournament. Sharapova has other business projects, with candyline Sugapova being the most lucrative.

Far behind Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at the third spot is another tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who earned $14.6 million. NASCAR’s Danica Patrick, who clocks in at 4th place, is the highest-earning non-tennis player on the list. UFC’s media darling Ronda Rousey sneaks in at the 8th spot with $6.5 million, followed closely by golf player Stacy Lewis with $6.4 million.

With Sharapova and six other tennis players making the top 10, it’s apparent that tennis is one of the big-grossing sports where women’s salaries can compete those of the men’s. The gains made by Maria Sharapova, however, are still a far cry from the $67 million raked in by top male tennis player Roger Federer. Fortune reports that Rousey earns less than her male counterparts in the UFC. In that same article, UFC spokesperson Dave Sholler chimes in.

Rousey is currently making more in UFC compensation than any other current champion. She is the leader in the club house. Salary secrecy is largely because we’re a private company, but also because many of our athletes don’t want their salaries disclosed.

There have been large gains in the earnings of women competitors in the last several years, though it’s interesting to note the significant payout disparity that still remains. Interestingly, no woman athlete has made it to the top 25 in Forbes‘ list of highest-paid athletes. Still, it will be interesting to see if Maria Sharapova can finally crack the top 25 next year.

[Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]