Naomi Osaka (AP photo)
London: Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has become the highest paid female athlete in the world, topping American great Serena Williams.
According to the Forbes magazine, Osaka earned $37.4 million in the last 12 months from prize money and endorsements, $1.4 million more than Williams, setting an all-time earnings record for a female athlete in a single year. Maria Sharapova previously held the record with $29.7 million in 2015.
Since Forbes began tracking women athletes' income in 1990, tennis players have topped the annual list every year.
Osaka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, ranks No. 29 on the 2020 Forbes list of the world's 100 top-paid athletes while Williams is No. 33.
The complete Forbes list, due to be released next week, has not featured two women since 2016, the magazine says.
The ascension puts an end to a decisive winning streak for Williams, who has been the world's highest-paid female athlete each of the past four years, with annual pre-tax income ranging from $18 million to $29 million.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has collected almost $300 million during her career from endorsers that have swarmed the 38-year-old star.
Osaka, the winner of 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, has secured lucrative deals with global brands like Procter & Gamble, All Nippon Airways and Nissin.