As a true trailblazer and one of the best young athletes in the world, Naomi Osaka has fans in their millions. She’s an incredible competitor who also has a heart of gold, making her the ideal sporting hero for the next generation. Her rise to fame and power has been an incredibly fast one, to the point where she now finds herself placed within the top 100 athletes in the world in terms of their pay packet. However, while that is a cause for celebration, the fact she and Serena Williams make up the only two athletes in that list who are female is a cause for concern.
Despite more eyes being on female sport than ever before, there is still a glacial change in the way that females earn. Tennis is one of the few sports to allow for much fairer payments when it comes to their competitions. It’s a reason why the only two female athletes on the list are tennis players; it is one of the few global sports to treat both male and female competitors with the same approach.
While UFC star Conor McGregor sat at the top of the last with a whopping $208m, the others on the list tend to be a fair bit lower down the list. Indeed, Lionel Messi sits second, making around $126m in the last year. Williams was also on the list, ranked 44th on the list. The 23-time Grand Slam winner has endured a challenging sporting year, failing to win that record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title despite having numerous chances.
The 39-year-old has also cut down on her sporting appearances, which naturally has a major impact on the kind of sums that she can earn when competing. Still, her various endorsements help to make up a large sum of her income.
Where is Naomi Osaka?
Osaka, meanwhile, sits a whopping 15th on the list. Indeed, she is saddled among two of the biggest names in the National Basketball Association in James Harden, now of the Brooklyn Nets, and triple-double superstar Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards. Osaka, the World No. 2, won the US Open in 2020 and also won the Australian Open in 2021.
That has seen her earning power skyrocket, with the Asian-American star bringing home a wildly impressive $50m in endorsements alone. Alongside her large portfolio of endorsements includes the likes of Tag Heuer, Levi’s, and Louis Vuitton. She also works with the popular swimwear brand Frankie’s Bikinis, showing her excellent range of networking contacts.
It is, though, her performances on the court as well as her statements off it that make Osaka such a huge icon to many. The 23-year-old might be among the most dominant tennis stars around, but she is never shy in using her voice for what she believes is the right kind of statement.
Without doubt, she’s become an icon for millions – and her massive earning potential only plays a role in that massive stardom that is growing all around her.