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Japan's Naomi Osaka has become the world's highest-paid female athlete, Forbes magazine said Friday Photo: AFP/File
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Naomi Osaka tops Serena Williams as world's highest-paid female athlete

38 Comments
By JOSE JORDAN

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has become the world's highest-paid female athlete, making $37.4 million (34.3 million euros) in the past 12 months for an earnings record, Forbes magazine reported Friday.

The 22-year-old Asian star, a two-time Grand Slam champion, edged U.S. rival Serena Williams by $1.4 million in prize money and endorsement income over the past year.

Both shattered the old single-year earnings mark of $29.7 million set in 2015 by Russia's Maria Sharapova, who retired in February with five Grand Slam titles, including a career Slam.

"To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great back story," University of Southern California sports business professor David Carter told Forbes.

"Combine that with being youthful and bicultural -- two attributes that help her resonate with younger, global audiences -- and the result is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon."

Osaka, whose father was born in Haiti and whose mother is Japanese, ranks 29th on the 2020 Forbes list of the world's 100 top-paid athletes, four spots ahead of Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

The complete list, due to be released next week, has not featured two women since 2016, according to the magazine.

Williams, 38, had been the world's highest-paid female athlete in each of the past four years. Sharapova ruled for the five years before that.

Williams had annual incomes from $18 million to $29 million and has collected nearly $300 million, much of it in endorsement deals.

Osaka won back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the 2018 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open, her controversial and historic victory over Williams in the Flushing Meadows final the first Slam singles crown for a Japanese woman.

Osaka was a popular endorsement figure in Japan ahead of the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics and figures to remain a sponsorship dream through next year's rescheduled Games.

Nike signed a apparel deal with Osaka last year that paid her $10 million in the past year and runs through 2025. Other endorsement deals include Nissan and Yonex rackets.

Since Forbes began tracking women athletes' income figures in 1990, tennis players have topped the annual list of female top income earners every year.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
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Back to your old tricks huh. Reading my mind and then commenting on your own assumptions. I am most certainly not outraged, and the thought of an official announcement never crossed my mind until you made it up

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan's Naomi Osaka has become the world's highest-paid female athlete

Funny how she wasn't considered "Japan's" until she became a champion. She gave up her US citizenship, something many people dream of having, just to compete in the Olympics. Now what?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Some people just like hearing themselves talk

4 ( +4 / -0 )

She was not forced. She had her eye on the Olympics, but you can be sure she was thinking about sponsorship money

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Lets just hope she continues to matures with age, and becomes a very good philanthropist, for her sport and others, that would be best.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Kipling - six of one, half a dozen of another. It's all semantics. She chose to compete for Japan, and in order to do so gave up her US citizenship.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/tennis-star-naomi-osaka-gives-u-s-citizenship-represent-japan-n1065111

Yes, she did

3 ( +3 / -0 )

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2019/10/10/tennis/naomi-osaka-japanese-citizenship-tokyo-olympics/#.XsigoWSRVow

Yes, she did

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Strangerland

No she didn't.

You are totally wrong. She chose to relinquish her US citizenship with her career in mind. Compete in the Olympics which will be a sure in representing Japan and all the endorsement deals that come with the only female Japanese tennis player with a viable chance of a medal.

She is taking the Sharapova route. Having all the advantages of living and training in the US while maintaining citizenship in another country for her career.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She didn’t “give up” her US citizenship. Japan doesn’t allow dual nationality. The US does!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think Serena Williams must be the greatest woman player ever. Osaka is unlikely to reach her heights.

Serena Williams, 39, and mother and still with an amazing physique.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Good for her! Make dat money!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why would you say her manager switch has paid off ?

She has won nothing since, losing her #1 ranking in the meantime (in fact dropping down to #10 )

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That article points out she chose Japanese citizenship. She did. The article doesn't say she gave up her American citizenship. She didn't.

She did give up her US citizenship... Nice try though.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/tennis-star-naomi-osaka-gives-u-s-citizenship-represent-japan-n1065111

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Financially, she has made the best decision. As far as her career, she has taken the path of least resistance. She would have had a hard time competing for a spot on the US Olympic team, and her family probably realized that it would be hard to get the same kind of attention and endorsement deals being another American woman of color particularly of African descent in predominately white sport.

I also think she does not have that kind of mental toughness to endure what Serena and Venus has endure in their careers. It is is one of the reasons why they are some of the all-time greats and in Serena's case the best female tennis player of all-time, and she isn't done yet. For example, Tiger has a mostly strong following because he has always downplayed his African-American roots for a mostly white fan-base. It wasn't until his arrest that he may have realized how flimsy that support is for him. The Williams sister have never downplayed their roots. That is where a lot of the hate stems from. It also explains Sharapova's and Kournikova's financial success in the US. Two kind of good players who were not worthy enough to hold the Williams sister's tennis bags.

Osaka chose her Japanese citizenship with mild international success and very few Japanese peers; thus , she is raking in the endorsements because she is Japan's only shot at any success in tennis for the moment. If she never win another major event ever again. She will still have an entire country with all endorsement deals behind her. All the Japanese companies will support her, and any foreign company wanting a bigger stake in the Japanese market will offer her an endorsement too.

Like I said before, her mental toughness and taking the easier path is why she won't live up to her athletic potential unless she makes some major life choices. Maybe, her sister will learn from her mistakes and do better. Financially, Osaka is set!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She gave up her US citizenship, something many people dream of having, just to compete in the Olympics. 

A tax (sometimes double) on all global income for her and her kids (even if they never set foot in the US, no matter where they live) for life. Can't imagine why anyone would want to give that up....

That article does not say she gave it up.

Under the headline: "The dual citizen has already begun the process of renouncing her U.S. citizenship." It will cost her quite a bit. The land of the free doesn't like it when people try to leave, and makes it the most expensive and difficult process of any developed country. Funny that - for a free country, I mean.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Strangerland

That article points out she chose Japanese citizenship. She did. The article doesn't say she gave up her American citizenship. She didn't.

but.......

"The dual citizen has already begun the process of renouncing her U.S. citizenship."

Unless you are implying that a well known sports figure is openly defying the Japanese legal system.

Your eager willingness to defend all things Japanese has painted yourself in a corner on this one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Totally unfair. The income gaps between the Top players and the rest is extremely unacceptable.

Anyone born in poor countries to have a a dream to be one of the top player in the world is too rare..kind of like lottery..if u could able to find a gold in the ocean. Only those born in rich nations will be able to have such dream come true because first they're lucky to be born there and second they have all the facilities and nutrients all the time and they're the ones to become rich.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unless you are implying that a well known sports figure is openly defying the Japanese legal system.

Obviously not openly defying, since she said she is in the process of renouncing. She could be practicing the time-proven Japanese tradition of dragging one's feet while promising to do something one doesn't really want to do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 22-year-old Asian star

She is a global star, not an Asian star.

Why would she be an Asian star more than she might be a Caribbean star?

Because of a booklet she got from the govt here?

She gave up her US citizenship, something many people dream of having,

It’s odd that people would dream of having that so they can be obliged to pay taxes to Uncle Sam even if you don’t live there, but yeah some people prefer it to other citizenships nonetheless. I think there are more attractive ones personally.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

StrangerlandThat article points out she chose Japanese citizenship. She did. The article doesn't say she gave up her American citizenship. She didn't.

but.......

"The dual citizen has already begun the process of renouncing her U.S. citizenship."

Unless you are implying that a well known sports figure is openly defying the Japanese legal system.

On the contrary, I'm pointing out that her actions are satisfying the Japanese legal system.

Anyone who knows the nuances of the system can clearly see this. Comanteer figured it out above:

The article is quoting her - and it is something she would have to say to satisfy Japanese law

But others who clearly do not know how the system works, feel qualified to declare she has given up her American citizenship.

It hasn't happened, and I would be quite surprised if she ever gives it up, since she doesn't need to by Japanese law. She has already satisfied the requirements of the law with her declaration.

This is why no one has been able to show her actually giving up her citizenship, they can only find articles that have made the same mistake as posters here, in mistakenly extrapolating her declaration to renounce American citizenship as equating to actually having done it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She even can't speak japanese

She can, and is studying. In fact, I'd bet she speaks more Japanese for the amount of time she's spent in Japan than the majority of foreigners who come here.

But hey, don't let that stop disparaging her.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Simply put you can be a dual citizen in Japan and America until you reach 21 years, after that age, you have to choose the citizenship you want to keep to make it legal.

In putting it simply, you actually put it incorrectly.

The law is that one must declare an intention to give up ones nationality. There is no requirement to actually follow through, nor is there any mechanism to do anything if the person does not give up the other citizenship.

Osaka did what she must - declare that she intends to give up her America citizenship (there’s a form). Other than the baseless claims here, there is nothing saying she actually did give it up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looks like the manager switch is paying off. Bicultural? Can she speak Japanese?

What gave you the idea that being able to speak Japanese is required to be bicultural?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Well bi cultural is something that I am.

I actually have one parent whos a half making me a quarter...

Are the people squabbling above actually mixed or from several places themselves?

Funnily enough the most angry argumentative people on this topic are almost always those who don’t and never experienced it.

They are mad for others and their kidz etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You are totally wrong.

Again, no she didn't. People keep making this claim. It's a false claim.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm wondering, are a lot of the endorsements and money coming from Japanese companies like noodle makers? You can be very successful, financially, and have no other success outside Japan or East Asia. The tone-death singer Hamasaki comes to mind. Mega rich, but totally unknown outside the region.

Funny how she wasn't considered "Japan's" until she became a champion.

Just like how grandpa didn't want anything to do with her or her parents until she started getting a bit rich. Obvious or what.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

She has won nothing since, losing her #1 ranking in the meantime (in fact dropping down to #10 )

The contracts to sell her face and popularity = paid off.

invalid CSRF

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She did give up her US citizenship... Nice try though.

That article does not say she gave it up.

Can anyone show anything that says she gave it up? Not something that says she intends to (as must be declared to the Japanese government), but actually gave it up?

Nope, you can't. She didn't.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I take that back. The article is quoting her - and it is something she would have to say to satisfy Japanese law (and public opinion). If she plans on living in the US in the future, it would make sense just to say that and do nothing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She even can't speak japanese, but after becoming a champion Japan gave attention to her

ridicolous

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Simply put you can be a dual citizen in Japan and America until you reach 21 years, after that age, you have to choose the citizenship you want to keep to make it legal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That article points out she chose Japanese citizenship. She did. The article doesn't say she gave up her American citizenship. She didn't.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Looks like the manager switch is paying off. Bicultural? Can she speak Japanese?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

She chose to compete for Japan, and in order to do so gave up her US citizenship.

No she didn't.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Funny how she wasn't considered "Japan's" until she became a champion.

Um yeah. Do you see press releases announcing various bicultural Japanese children are "Japan's" regularly? I've never seen one.

You seem to think that the country should have made some official announcement, and that it should have been made before anyone knew who she was.

You are OUTRAGED. And you are right to be so, as this is the Age of Outrage. Someone is always wrong about something!

She gave up her US citizenship

People keep using 'logic' to come to this conclusion, ignoring that it can't be logically concluded.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Back to your old tricks huh. Reading my mind and then commenting on your own assumptions.

I came to the impression from reading your text. We have not spoken in person. So if I am under that assumption, it means you didn't word your post well, as it would seem that you misconveyed your actual feelings, instead coming across as outrage.

I am most certainly not outraged, and the thought of an official announcement never crossed my mind until you made it up

Then how exactly would Japan have declared Naomi Osaka "theirs" before she got famous? You criticized them for not declaring her "theirs" until she got famous, so by what logic could they have avoided that "mistake" in the first place?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

But to answer your questions: yes and yes.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

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