The magazine said that Williams' annual earnings over the last year were $28.9 million, $20 million of which came from endorsements. That moves her above longtime leader Maria Sharapova, who earned $20 million in endorsements, but only $1.9 million in prize money.
Williams’ recognition only grew in 2015 as she pursued a calendar-year Grand Slam. The world No. 1 partnered with new sponsors and led the WTA tour in prize money. Sharapova, meanwhile, has seen three of her biggest sponsors suspend ties with her since the Russian tested positive for meldonium, a banned substance, at the Australian Open. The five-time Grand Slam champion is currently suspended from play, though that could be overturned pending the decision of a hearing.
Tennis players dominated Forbes’ annual ranking of the highest-paid female athletes, taking eight of the top 10 spots. Coming in at No. 5 was Agnieszka Radwanska, with around $10 million in earnings, followed by No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki, with $8 million. Garbine Muguruza was No. 7, and that ranking is likely to increase following her French Open title, which Forbes said was not included in her $7.6 million in earnings.
Ana Ivanovic was No. 8 with $7.4 million, Victoria Azarenka was No. 9 and Eugenie Bouchard rounded out the top 10 with a little more than $6 million.
In determining the rankings, Forbes calculated money earned both on the court (or field) and off.