Meet the highest-paid women athletes in the world. Read their short stories about life, money and success.
1. Maria Sharapova – Total earnings: $29 million
She was born on April 19, 1987, in Nyagan, Russia. She first started playing tennis at an early age when a family friend gave her an old racket when she was four years old.
In 1993, Martina Navratilova noticed her potential when Maria was attending a tennis exhibition tournament in Moscow. After this, Maria’s father put her under the training of Nick Bollettieri at his prestigious academy in Bradenton, Florida, U.S.
In 2004, Sharapova won Wimbledon against Serena Williams and has gone on to win the US Open and Australian Open. In 2012, she won the French Open, becoming the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam. Her Quote: “I’m not the next anyone, I’m the first Maria Sharapova.”
Maria Sharapova (Guliver/Getty Images)
2. Serena Williams – Total earnings: $20.5 million
Serena was born on September 26, 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan USA. She started playing tennis before she reached kindergarten. In 2002-2003 she won the “Serena Slam” by holding all four grand slam titles at once: the 2002 French Open, Wimbledon,U.S. and 2003 Australian Open title.
She is currently ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. One of her personal quotes: “You never fail if you try. You only fail if you don’t try. Go out there and try whatever you are dreaming of!”
Serena Williams (Guliver/Getty Images)
3. Li Na – Total earnings: $18.2 million
Li Na is a Chinese professional tennis player born on February 26, 1982, in Wuhan, Hubei. Her father was a professional badminton player and at age six, Li Na started playing badminton. Two years later, Li made the transition from badminton to tennis when her parents were convinced by coach Xia Xiyao.
Li rose to prominence in 2011 when she reached two Grand Slam finals and won the French Open title. Li Na Quote: “I would prefer to have no money but to have a nice family and good friends around.”
Li Na (Guliver/Getty Images)
4. Victoria Azarenka – Total earnings: $15.7 million
Victoria was born on July 31, 1989 in Minsk, Soviet Union. She began playing tennis at the age of 7 when her mother was working at the tennis club. She became the first Belarusian player to win a Grand Slam in singles when she won two Australian Open singles titles in 2012 and 2013.
Her ranking jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 on January 30, 2012 and she is currently World No. 2 as of 5 August 2013. Her Quote: “Trying your best is bringing your best … that’s the way to do it! Desire and passion is everything.”
Victoria Azarenka (Guliver/Getty Images)
5. Danica Patrick – Total earnings: $15 million
Danica Sue Patrick was born on March 25, 1982 and is an American auto racing driver. She began racing go-karts when she was 10 years old and dropped out of high school to advance her racing career in England.
Danica Patrick was racing full-time in the Nascar Sprint Cup series for the first time in 2013. She attracted widespread attention for winning the pole position at the Daytona 500 and finishing eight in the race, which was the highest finish ever at Daytona for a female driver. Her Quote: “I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl.“
Danica Patrick (Guliver/Getty Images)
6. Kim Yuna – Total earnings: $14 million
Kim Yuna was born on September 5, 1990 in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do and she is a South Korean figure skater. Kim is the first female skater to win the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships and the Grand Prix Final.
Kim is expected to be one of the leading stars at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Her Quotes: “I always wanted to be Olympic champion and do clean programs.”
Kim Yuna (Guliver/Getty Images)