Let me start with a simple fact. Out of any sport,
female tennis players are the richest women athletes in the world..
Have you ever thought about the richest athletes in the world?
When thinking about wealthy athletes, the first thing that comes to mind is baseball players and position football players like quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Deandre Hopkins. I also think about standout basketball players like LeBron James and Steph Curry.
Thinking about women getting paid -like REALLY paid- for being an athlete just never crosses my mind (aside from Serena of course). According to an article by Forbes, men make up the entire top ten highest paid athletes, with Roger Federer being the only tennis player. After reading this article, I started to think, who are the top ten wealthiest female athletes in the world? A brief flashback of watching Sloane Stephen’s holding up her 3.7 million dollar check for winning the 2017 US Open crossed my mind. Hands down, women’s tennis players are the highest paid female athletes in the entire world.
According to Forbes, eight out of ten of the highest paid female athletes in the world are tennis players. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova take spots one and two, while Rhonda Rousey and Danica Patrick come in third and fourth. The fifth through tenth spots is made up entirely of top-ranked tennis players.
The difference between the highest paid female tennis player from the highest paid female athletes from other sports are extreme. For example, Serena Williams made 3.7 million for winning the 2017 Australian Open. The highest paid WNBA player, Nneka Ogwumike earns a yearly salary of $95,000. To break it down even further, the average WNBA salary is $72,000 followed by the average professional soccer league: $27,400. Women’s salaries from other sports are not even worth an honorable mention in this article.
What stands out to me the most is that every woman on the Top 10 Forbes list plays an individual sport. I am convinced that if you are a young female with aspirations to make significant money playing a sport, individual sports is the route to go. There is no salary cap, which means that an individual sport athlete can increase their wealth with no limitation on the prize money they earn. It is all dependent on their winning results.
I am not trying to paint this beautiful picture where if you declare professional in the sport of tennis you are going to be happily rich forever. I’m saying that even though the opportunity for a tennis player to earn over 3 million dollars are only 7 wins away at a Grand Slam, the level of difficulty it takes to successfully win on tour and make a living is incredibly difficult. Remember, there is only one tennis tour; ATP for men, and WTA for women. There is no separate league or opportunity like football where they offer Canadian or Indoor Football to players who do not play NFL, and there are not any overseas teams or leagues offered like basketball or volleyball.
Every serious tennis player who wants to play is trying to make it on the one single tour. When I was in college, I had a discussion with one of my coaches about going pro. We had a serious talk about the pros and cons and what it would take to make the best decision. We started to talk about the financial stability of a professional tennis player and he told me an astounding statistic. He stated that the 114th ranked female tennis player in the entire world is where she breaks even between earnings and expenses. That means that without the endorsements and sponsors, and after paying all of her expenses such as coaches, travel, etc, she is not making any money.
At the end of the day, if you want to be an incredibly wealthy female athlete, training and setting goals to be a top fifty player on the WTA tour is the way to go.