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Despite being off on maternity leave for 14 months, Serena Williams has still managed to top Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-earning female athletes for the third straight year.

The 23-time grand slam champion earned just $62,000 in prize money during the last 12 months, but her $18.1 million in endorsements banked last year was enough to secure the No. 1 spot.

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki is second with total earnings of $13 million, while reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens ($8.7 million) is third.

The 36-year-old made twice as much off the court than any other female athlete, while only 16 male athletes have earned more than Williams over the past 12 months from sponsorship’s, according to Forbes.

The top 10 females earned a combined $105 million from June 2017 to June 2018 — down 4% from last year and 28% from five years ago. In comparison, the combined earnings of the world’s top 10 highest-paid sports stars, who are all male, tops a billion dollars.

Forbes’ rankings of the world’s top 100 highest earning athletes of 2018 did not feature a woman after Williams’ earnings fell as she revealed in January 2017 that she was pregnant with her first child.

Williams will be seeded 17th at the U.S. Open, which gets underway in New York on Aug. 27. That’s nine spots above her current ranking (which is lower than usual due to her maternity leave) and one spot behind her sister Venus at No. 16.

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4 thoughts on “Serena Williams Returns As Forbes’ Highest-Earning Female Athlete Despite Maternity Leave

  1. She’s the Queen alright and it’s time we stop complaining that Serena isn’t getting her just props from the sports media compared to her white competitors because it ain’t so. She should however demand more respect from the USLTA now that it’s found out that they’ve tested her for performance-enhancing drugs 5 times more often than the other women in the circuit.It might not be a clear case of racial discrimination considering Sloane Stephens’ success,unless she’s also found to be over-tested.

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