Maria Sharapova has made the most prize money of any female tennis player in history apart from the Williams sisters – with veteran Serena still within reach of $100 million as part of a fortune dwarfing her sibling’s winnings.
Five-time Grand Slam title winner Sharapova is said to have raked in almost $39 million in tournament earnings during her sensational career, setting the Russian icon up for a career as an investor since her retirement in 2020.
Sharapova’s earnings over 17 years pale in comparison to the sisters, though, with figures showing they have made a colossal total of almost $137 million, according to Tennis365.
Turning professional on Halloween in 1994 as a 14-year-old, Venus spent 19 weeks as world number one and has earned more than $42 million, remaining active on the tour as a 41-year-old.
Her more successful sister Serena, who has won 23 Grand Slam titles, joined the pro ranks at the same age in October 1995, and still needs $5.5 million more to make $100 million, according to the list.
That is more than double Venus’ earnings, and the Williams sisters could be poised to add more to their fortunes on the court.
On Wednesday, however, Serena revealed she will not be swelling her bank balance at the Australian Open in January, which she has had to pull out of.
“Following the advice of my medical team, I have decided to withdraw from this year’s Australian Open,” she said in a statement.
“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete.”
The next best earners after the mentioned trio are Simona Halep (almost $38 million) and Caroline Wozniacki (more than $35 million).
Elsewhere on the list, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova (almost $26 million) is tenth. At 36, she is unlikely to budge ninth-placed Polished star Agnieszka Radwanska, who has earned almost $2 million more than Kuznetsova despite never claiming a Grand Slam.
Serena is the only female athlete to have been named on Forbes’ list of the most powerful women in 2021, finishing 85th.
Away from the court, fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka became the highest-paid female athlete ever after making $60 million in 12 months, including $55 million from endorsements alone.