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How The Highest-Paid Female Athletes Make Money

How The Highest-Paid Female Athletes Make Money

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Ever wonder how sports stars get so rich? Obviously, they sweat it out on the court, field, track. But some of the most lucrative opportunities come up when they're not competing—that is, when these ladies ink deals with major brands. Earlier this month, Forbes revealed the 10 female athletes pulling in the biggest bucks. Seven—that's right, seven—of them play tennis. We dug up the latest intel on how much cash these ladies have pulled in on the court—or at the racetrack, in the ring, and so on—this year, and what kinds of endorsement deals are lining their pockets. Here's the lowdown on 10 top female athletes: (Some of them are even featured in the 20 Iconic Sports Moments Featuring Female Athletes.)

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Maria Sharapova

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $29.7 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: Nearly $3.3 million, according to the Women's Tennis Association
A knee injury is keeping her out of this week's U.S. Open, but we have a feeling Maria Sharapova is doing just fine. The Russian tennis star won the Brisbane International and Internazionali BNL d'Italia, but her biggest payout came from the Australian Open, which she lost in the finals to Serena Williams. That second-place finish was worth nearly $1.4 million alone. Off the court, Sharapova has deals with brands including Nike, TagHEUER, Evian, Avon, Porsche, Head, and Supergoop. Sharapova also has a line of premium candy—Sugarpova—and Forbes reports that the brand has sold three million bags this year.

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Serena Williams

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $24.6 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: $9.8 million, according to the Women's Tennis Association
Williams is the world's top-ranked woman in tennis for a reason: This year, the American phenom won the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. She snagged nearly $3 million for the latter victory alone. Endorsements with brands like Gatorade, Wilson, Nike, and OPI add to her wealth. She also owns a stake in the Miami Dolphins, sells an exclusive line of clothing at HSN, and has partnerships with Sleep Sheets and Mission Skincare. (And on top of all that, Nike Celebrates Serena Williams with Her Own Clothing Collection.)

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Caroline Wozniacki

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $14.6 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: $909,621, according to the Women's Tennis Association
This Danish tennis star has never won a Grand Slam, but she's still one of the top players in the world. This year, she won the BMW Malaysian Open, although her biggest tennis paycheck came from Wimbledon, where she made it to the fourth round. That's worth $202,613. Wozniacki's endorsement deals include Adidas, Babolat, eBoks.dk, Dubai Duty Free, Lavazza, Godiva, and USANA.

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Danica Patrick

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $13.9 million
Earnings on the track so far in 2015: More than $2.8 million, according to Spotrac, a firm that tracks sports results and earnings
The American racecar driver has earned plenty of dough from NASCAR this year, despite no first-place finishes. Earningswise, Patrick is the No. 27 driver in the sport. Her biggest payout came from the Daytona 500, where she finished 21st, which is worth $331,453. Endorsement deals are aplenty for Patrick; she is sponsored by companies like Coca-Cola, AlpineStars, Tissot, Chevrolet, Nationwide, Revo, Schuberth, Six Star Pro Nutrition, and Troy Lee Designs. (Did you know that she's also a yogi? Here are 14 Times Danica Patrick Got Fit Off the Nascar Track.)

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Ana Ivanovic

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $8.3 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: nearly $1.1 million, according to the Women's Tennis Association
The Serbian tennis player earned more than half of this year's dough at the French Open, where she lost in the semi-finals to Lucie Safarova. Ivanovic also has deals with Adidas, Dubai Duty Free, Yonex, Rolex, Shisedio, and Juice Plus.

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Petra Kvitova

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $7.7 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: about $1.7 million, according to the Women's Tennis Association
This Czech tennis player won this year's Connecticut Open and Mutua Madrid Open, the latter of which gave her the biggest tennis paycheck of the year at $896,423. Her sponsors include Nike, Wilson, Ritmo Mundo, Steilman, UniCredit Bank, CEZ Group, Ceska Posta, and Right to Play.

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Simona Halep

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $6.8 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: nearly $2.8 million, according to the Women's Tennis Association
The Romanian tennis star won this year's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the BNP Paribas Open, where she earned her biggest prize check of the year, $900,400. She has deals with Adidas and Vodafone Romania, a mobile phone company.

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Ronda Rousey

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $6.5 million
Earnings in the ring, June 2014 to June 2015: $3 million, according to Forbes
The UFC doesn't release player earnings, so we can't say for sure how much the world's famous fighter has made this year. However, it's safe to assume that Ronda Rousey is kicking butt in the moola department. In addition to her fight earnings, she has deals with Reebok, Buffalo David Bitton, Monster, and MetroPCS. (Rousey is also a total badass, and one of the Strong Women Who Are Changing the Face of Girl Power As We Know It.)

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Stacy Lewis

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015: $6.4 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: nearly $1.5 million, according to the LPGA
The American golfer hasn't won a tournament this year, but she keeps finishing strong—ranking in the top 10 in ten separate tourneys. That included a third-place tie in the U.S. Open, which earned her a cool $267,072. Lewis is sponsored by Mizuno, Pure Silk, KPMG, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the Antigua Group, Omega Watches, Manulife, VedaloHD, Bridgestone Golf, Footjoy, and AimPoint.

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Agnieszka Radwanska

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Forbes' estimated earnings, June 2014 to June 2015:$6 million
Earnings on the court so far in 2015: nearly $1.4 million, according to the Women's Tennis Association
The Polish tennis star earned her biggest tennis payout of 2015 so far—$749,817—at Wimbledon, where she lost to Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals. She has sponsorships with Lexus, BabolaT, Rado Switzerland, dayli, Amica, Lotto Sport, and Workday.

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