From Original 9 to Highest-Paid 9: WTA dominates Forbes' annual list

From Original 9 to Highest-Paid 9: WTA dominates Forbes' annual list

Nearly 50 years after a set of female tennis pioneers went out on their own, 2020's nine-highest paid female athletes—led by Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams—are all active competitors on the WTA tour.

As the 50th anniversary of the WTA's Original 9 approaches, today's top women's tennis players?continue to prove the gamble those pioneers took in going out on their own has paid off in every way.

In May, Forbes reported that Naomi Osaka became the highest-paid female athlete in history with her annual earnings of $37.4 million. Earlier this week, the business publication announced that eight of Osaka's peers, including Serena Williams, have combined with her?to give?the WTA the world's?Top 9-earning female athletes. U.S. Women's National Soccer Team star Alex Morgan was the only athlete outside of tennis to make the list at No. 10.

Osaka's wealth of sponsors enabled her to top the group for the first time.?The two-time Grand Slam champion was expected to be a major face of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Williams wasn't far behind Osaka with $36 million, thanks to long-time partnerships with brands such as?Nike and Gatorade.?

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty rounded out the Top 3 at $13.1 million, thanks large in part to the prize money she racked up. In 2019, Barty took home?the largest paycheck in tennis history, $4.42 million, by winning the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen. Fellow 2019 major champions Simona Halep ($10.9 million) and Bianca Andreescu ($8.9 million) followed the Australian. All three have opted out of the upcoming US Open.

Rounding out this year's list are: No. 6 Garbine Muguruza ($6.6 million), No. 7 Elina Svitolina ($6.4 million), No. 8 Sofia Kenin ($5.8 million) and No. 9 Angelique Kerber ($5.3 million).