As Serena Williams gears up for her next Grand Slam tournament—the U.S. Open in New York—she continues to prove that she is the greatest athlete of all time by topping Forbes‘ list of highest paid female athletes, despite only earning $62,000 in prize money over the past 12 months.
Obviously, Williams’ straight-from-tennis earnings would be down in a year that saw her take significant time off before and after the birth of her adorable daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. (She didn’t play competitively for 14 months.) But her bankability has long been about more than just her athletic accomplishments and she pulled in $18.1 million in endorsements and business ventures, which include her Serena clothing line.
That’s more than twice as much off-the-court as the next woman on the list, Williams’ good friend and fellow tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, who brought in $6 million in endorsements, but $7 million in prize money.
In fact, the top six athletes on the list come from the world of tennis (Venus Williams comes in at #6), which says something about how female athletes in that sport are paid, both on and off the court. However, when you take a closer look at the list of highest paid male athletes, the pay discrepancy women have become all too familiar with comes into sharp focus.
In fact, the top 100 highest paid athletes in the world, according to annual data obtained by Forbes, are men. Boxer Floyd Mayweather tops the list with $285 million. And while Williams’ recent salary may look different than it has in the past (when playing full time in 2016-17, she earned $27 million), it seems utterly ridiculous that she would be the only woman close to making the list in any given year. Perhaps the most direct comparison can be made to Roger Federer, whose earnings over the past year topped $77 million and landed him at #7 on the Forbes‘ list.
Of course, these are all enormous sums of money that most of us can only dream of—but the fundamental problem of pay inequality remains. Even for the G.O.A.T.