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Naomi Osaka: Four-time Grand Slam champion tops Forbes list of highest-earning female athletes

Naomi Osaka tops Forbes list of highest-earning female athletes; collectively, the 10 highest-paid female athletes earned a total of $166.6 million, which Forbes said was a 23 per cent increase over its 2020 list

Japan's Naomi Osaka walks out onto Margaret Court Arena for her second round singles match against China's Zheng Saisai at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Image: Japan's Naomi Osaka is the world's highest-paid female athlete, according to a list published by business magazine Forbes

Naomi Osaka is the world's highest-paid female athlete, according to a list published by business magazine Forbes.

The Japanese star, who has helped raise awareness of mental health issues in sport, raked in $57.3 million in prize money and endorsements over the last year.

Nearly all of Osaka's earnings came from an endorsement portfolio that has added more than 10 brand partners over the last year-and-a-half.

The four-time Grand Slam champion has commercial deals with the likes of Tag Heuer and Louis Vuitton, in addition to partnerships with Nike, Beats by Dre and Mastercard, among others.

She also owns equity stakes in BodyArmor and Hyperice as well as becoming an investor of professional women's soccer team, North Carolina Courage.

The list was published after a year in which Osaka withdrew from the French Open to focus on her mental health amid a public row over mandatory press conferences at the Grand Slam, saying they took too great a toll on her mental wellbeing.

Serena Williams
Image: Serena Williams and her sister, Venus, were also on the list dominated by tennis stars

Fellow tennis players Serena Williams ($45.9 million) and older sister Venus ($11.3 million) were next on the list. American gymnast Simone Biles ($10.1 million) and Spanish tennis player Garbine Muguruza ($8.8 million) rounded out the top five.

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Osaka was left in tears during a news conference at last year's Western and Southern Open (Pictures: ESPN)

Tennis players made up five of the list's 10 spots, which Forbes said marked the sport's lowest tally in more than a decade and a dramatic change from 2019 when it claimed all 10.

South Korean golfer Ko Jin-young ($7.5 million), Indian badminton player P.V. Sindhu ($7.2 million), world No 1 tennis player Ashleigh Barty ($6.9 million), golfer Nelly Korda ($5.9 million) and basketball player Candace Parker ($5.7 million) were the other athletes in the top 10.

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