Naomi Osaka officially became the world's highest-paid female athlete, beating Serena Williams in the process.
The 22-year-old tennis player earned $37 million in the past year, which is more than any other female athlete in history. She beat out Serena Williams in the process, who she infamously beat at the US Open final to win her first Grand Slam title.
In the past 12 months, Osaka earned $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements. She made $1.4 million more than Serena Williams, setting an all-time earnings record for any female athlete in a single year.
NAOMI'S BICULTURAL CHARM
The record was previously held by tennis superstar Maria Sharapova who earned $29.7 million in 2015. Now, Osaka ranks number 29 among the 100 highest-paid athletes, while Williams is on number 33.
"To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story. Combine that with being youthful and bicultural, two attributes that help her resonate with younger, global audiences."
THE RISE OF NAOMI OSAKA
David Carter, a University of Southern Carolina sports business professor, revealed that it's Osaka's fresh face and background that allows her to be a global sports marketing icon. Her youth and her nationalities allow her to resonate with many audiences, which a lot of brands look for.
Earlier this year, however, she was beaten by 15-year-old Coco Gauff on her quest to achieve another Australian Open title.
Osaka's talent and skill are also up on the charts, having beaten her idol, Serena Williams, at the US Open which marked her first-ever Grand Slam title. Since then, everybody knew her name and was looking out for what she was set to achieve next.
FRESH TENNIS FACES
Earlier this year, however, she was beaten by 15-year-old Coco Gauff on her quest to achieve another Australian Open title. In one of their last matches before the COVID-19 pandemic halted sports events around the world, Gauff beat the defending champion in straight sets.
A portrait of Coco Gauff during one of her tennis matches | Source: Getty Images
Her win against Osaka may be considered her redemption for losing last year's US Open to the same opponent. Despite their back-and-forth challenges, however, the two greatly respect each other and are rooting for each other to grow.