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Sharapova tops rich list

By Agence France-Presse in London | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-08 06:39

 Sharapova tops rich list

Maria Sharapova heads the list of highest-paid female athletes, published on forbes.com. The Russian tennis star earned a total of $29 million between June 2012 and June this year. Toru Yamanaka / Agence France-Presse

Tennis stars dominate rankings of highest-paid female athletes

Tennis stars top the list of the world's 10 highest-paid female athletes, Forbes magazine said on Tuesday - a list that also highlights the yawning earnings gap between women and men in most sports.

Russia's Maria Sharapova headed the list, published on forbes.com, earning a total of $29 million between June 2012 and June this year.

Tennis took the top four positions, with world No 1 Serena Williams of the US second ($20.5 million), China's Li Na third ($18.2 million) and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus fourth ($15.7 million).

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark was in seventh ($13.6 million), followed by Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland ($7.4 million) and Serbia's Ana Ivanovic ($7 million).

US NASCAR driver Danica Patrick (fifth, $15 million), South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na (sixth, $14 million) and American golfer Paula Creamer (10th, $5.5 million), were the only non-tennis stars in the top 10.

But the business magazine said disparities remained between men and women in terms of earnings across most major sports.

World No 1 golfer Tiger Woods, for example, was the highest-paid athlete on the planet with earnings of $78 million in the 12 months between June 1 2012, and June 1 this year.

Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant will earn $30.5 million next season but the highest salary in the women's equivalent of the NBA is $107,000.

Park In-bee of South Korea won $585,000 for winning the women's US Open, but men's winner Justin Rose was awarded $1.4 million, the magazine noted.

Forbes said there was increasing parity in terms of pay in tennis, after moves in recent years to put prize money on a more equal footing.

Endorsements that come on the back of Grand Slam wins such as Sharapova's 2012 French Open title dwarf most players' winnings.

The 26-year-old, for example, earned $23 million in endorsements with sporting goods companies Head and Nike after her victory at Roland Garros.

She has also launched her own brand of sweets, Sugarpova.

Nevertheless, in Forbes' June 24 list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes, multiple tennis Grand Slam winner Roger Federer of Switzerland earned $71.5 million, second only to Woods.

Sharapova, No 22 in the top 100 list, earned more than the current men's No 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia ($26.9 million) and Spain's Rafael Nadal ($26.4 million).

But in a sign of the ground to be made up, Williams' earnings were only enough to place her 68th in the top 100, while Li was 85th - and all three were the only women on the list.

(China Daily 08/08/2013 page22)

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