Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Li Na Among Forbes’ Top 100 World’s Highest Paid Athletes


(June 10, 2013) ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Three WTA players – Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Li Na – were recently unveiled by Forbes magazine on its annual Top 100 World’s Highest Paid Athletes, list for 2013, the only three women included on the list.


Sharapova, No.22 on the list, remained the top-earning female athlete for the 9th consecutive year with earnings of $29 million, followed by Williams at No.68 with $20.5 million and Li Na at No.85 with $18.2 million.


“We are fortunate to have such globally popular stars like Maria, Serena and Li Na that brands around the world want to invest in and be associated with,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster. “As the WTA celebrates our 40th anniversary, the incredible off-court success of our athletes is another indication of how far the sport has come.”


Sharapova’s earnings came in part due to endorsements with Nike, Head and Porsche, as well as the launch of her premium candy line ‘Sugapova’ in August 2012. On court, Sharapova completed her career Grand Slam by winning the 2012 Roland Garros title.


World No.1 Williams currently has endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Wilson and OPI, as well as promoting her own clothing and accessories line on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). In the last 12 months, Williams has won 11 titles, including three Grand Slams (2012 Wimbledon, 2012 US Open, 2013 Roland Garros) and the 2012 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, while becoming the oldest women to ever hold the world No.1 ranking.


Li became the first Asian-born player to win a singles Grand Slam title at 2011 Roland Garros and is featured in the top 100 for the second consecutive year based on lucrative sponsorship deals with Nike, Babolat, Samsung, Mercedes and Rolex. Li was also recently named as one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People.


The appearance of three of the sport’s leading female stars on the annual Forbes list mirrors the WTA’s continued business success off court with over $200 million in revenue generated for the organization since 2011. The WTA’s sponsorship portfolio continues to grow with six new sponsors in the past three years, including by the signing of Xerox as a global partner in February of this year. In addition, Singapore was recently awarded the year-end WTA Championships for 2014-2018 in a record-setting partnership.


“I look forward to the day when more than three women are on the list of 100, but I’m proud of the fact that all the women listed are WTA players,” Allaster added.


In compiling the list, Forbes took into account prize money, endorsements, exhibitions and appearance fees paid out between June 1, 2012 and June 1, 2013. For a complete breakdown of the Forbes listing visit Forbes.com.