Serena Williams highest paid women's athlete – despite scooping just £48,000 in prize money

The American took time out of the sport following the birth of her baby girl in September.

Despite admitting she almost died after giving birth, she heroically managed to finish runner-up at Wimbledon in July.

But the 36-year-old raked in a whopping £13.95million in endorsements that helped skyrocket her to the top of the list.

Forbes have released the top 10 highest earning female athletes with eight tennis players in the list.

It comes after no female athletes made the top 100 best paid sports personalities following the list that was revealed in June. 

Top 10 highest paid women's athletes

  • Serena Williams (tennis) – $18.1m (£14m)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (tennis) – $13m (£10.1m)
  • Sloane Stephens (tennis) – $11.2m (£8.7m)
  • Garbine Muguruza (tennis) – $11m (£8.5m)
  • Maria Sharapova (tennis) – $10.5m (£8.1m)
  • Venus Williams (tennis) – $10.2m (£7.9m)
  • PV Sindhu (badminton) – $8.5m (£6.6m)
  • Simona Halep (tennis) – $7.7m (£6m)
  • Danica Patrick (race car driving) – $7.5m (£5.8m)
  • Angelique Kerber (tennis) – $7m (£5.4m)

Caroline Wozniacki is second after earning £10.1m with Sloane Stephens in third taking home £8.7m.

Badminton player PV Sindhu was the highest paid non-tennis ace and is seventh in the rankings, pocketing £6.6m.

The most successful female race car driver, Danica Patrick, remains ninth.

The 10 athletes earned a combined £81.4m in total which is a four per cent drop from the previous year.

Top 10 highest paid athletes

  • Floyd Mayweather – £212.7m (boxing)
  • Lionel Messi –  £82.84m (football)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – £80.6m (football)
  • Conor McGregor – £73.88m (MMA)
  • Neymar – £67.17m (football)
  • LeBron James – £63.81m (basketball)
  • Roger Federer – £57.61m (tennis)
  • Stephen Curry – £57.39m (basketball)
  • Matt Ryan – £50.67m (American football)
  • Matthew Stafford – £44.4m (American football)

Compared to the males, retired boxer Floyd Mayweather was the wealthiest athlete over the last year taking home a massive £212m fortune.

Football's top two earners , Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are next on the list with the Barcelona star edging out his Real Madrid rival by £2.24m ($3m).

Messi's fortune amounts to £82.84m ($111m) while Ronaldo, winner of this year's Ballon d'Or, is at £80.6m ($108m).

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