Only 2 Blacks among world’s highest-paid tennis players in 2023, Serena Williams off list

Abu Mubarik August 30, 2023
Serena Williams. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For years, Serena Williams has been among the highest-paid tennis players in the world as per Forbes. She was often on the list of the top ten with her sister, Venus Williams. Serena Williams made it known last year that she was retiring, making her ineligible for this year’s ranking, Forbes said.

Her sister has also fallen out of the top ten, ushering in emerging black players like Coco Gauff, with Naomi Osaka still on the list.

All in all, the ten highest-paid players amassed $196 million over the past 12 months, representing a 38 percent drop from last year’s $316 million total, according to Forbes. Novak Djokovic leads the list as Gauff and Osaka are the only two Black players.

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff is the seventh highest-paid tennis player in the world. According to Forbes, she made $3.2 million on the court and $12 million off the court. 

Since making her Grand Slam debut at the age of 17, Gauff has cemented her name in tennis history, one bat swing at a time. In 2021, Gauff broke a 15-year record to become the youngest woman to reach a grand slam quarterfinal at the 2021 French Open.

Not only that, but she became the youngest American woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams did it at the age of 17 at the 1997 U.S. Open. Gauff won her maiden WTA Tour singles championship at the 2019 Linz Open at the age of 15, becoming the Tour’s youngest singles champion since 2004. She rose to attention after defeating Williams in the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

She recently defeated Greek World No.9 Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3 in the women’s final to win the DC Open. The win is her fourth singles title and her first at a WTA-500 event. Also, it is her first career singles title in the United States. What is more, she is now the youngest women’s champion in tournament history.

Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, and had, therefore, not even been brought to the world when Williams, who would be her idol, reached her four of nine Wimbledon finals. But the African-American tennis prodigy rose in her field, winning several junior titles before making it to Wimbledon.

Her success on and off the tennis court has made her one of the most marketable sports stars coming of age and already earning millions. Forbes said she added some partnerships this year, with accounting firm Baker Tilly, Bose and UPS.

Naomi Osaka 

Naomi Osaka ranked ninth on the list of the highest-earning tennis players in the world. According to Forbes, she made $0.1 million and $12 million off the court. 

Osaka is a Haitian-Japanese tennis player born in Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan in October 1997 to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother but has lived her life in the U.S. since age three and has dual Japanese and American citizenship. She “grew up in a Haitian household in New York,” where she lived with her grandmother. Although she has often touted her Haitian heritage, Osaka plays tennis under the Japanese flag despite not being able to speak the language fluently.

She became the first person of color from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings and also the first to win a Grand Slam trophy. Her success on the court has not only led to winning grand slam trophies but also resulted in a substantial accumulation of wealth by the tennis star. In 2020, she debuted as Forbes’ highest-paid athlete in history.

However, since September 2022, she has not played a competitive match due to injuries and then because of pregnancy. Besides tennis, Osaka has been involved in several investment moves and has endorsement deals. She is also a part-owner of a National Women’s Soccer League Team, North Carolina Courage. She has also invested in a skincare line known as KINLÒ, purposely for melanated individuals. She created the product with Ghanaian-born dermatologist Dr. Naana Boakye. The tennis star also works with Victoria’s Secret and Bobbie baby formula.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 30, 2023


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