When it comes to popular professional sports, it isn't usually difficult for talented male athletes to translate their on-field success into financial success out of uniform. The same can't be said for female athletes, some of whom have been champions in advocating for equal pay for equal play.
Despite the hurdles, there are a handful of female athletes who have successfully used their athletic talent to pad their bank accounts. Between salaries and endorsements, the following 20 women are among the richest athletes in the world.
20. Garbiñe Muguruza Net Worth: $12 million
Currently ranked No. 4 among female singles players by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), Garbiñe Muguruza began playing tennis at the age of 3. In June 2016, she defeated tennis legend Serena Williams for her first Grand Slam singles title.
According to Forbes, Muguruza earned $7.6 million in 2016, including $3 million in endorsements.
19. Simona Halep Net Worth: $14 million
Romanian tennis player Simona Halep's professional career began in 2006. According to the WTA, Halep's best year to date was 2015, when she won three singles titles and was runner-up in two singles titles. She is currently ranked No. 8 among women's singles players.
In 2016, Halep was awarded the Jerry Diamond ACES Award — which is presented to the player who goes above and beyond to promote the sport of women's tennis — for her participation in numerous children's clinics, charitable activities and fan events. Halep won $5.3 million in prize money in 2016, according to Forbes. She has won close to $16 million in prize money throughout her career.
18. Karrie Webb Net Worth: $15 million
Karrie Webb is Australia's most successful female golfer and one of the greatest players in the history of women's golf. Webb, who started playing golf at age 8, has a total of 41 wins — including seven major wins — and has been honored with a number of awards. In 2005, she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Webb is only the second player in LPGA history to cross the $20 million earnings mark. Her net worth is $15 million.
17. Victoria Azarenka Net Worth: $15 million
Azarenka suffered an injury-plagued season in 2014 but has bounced back since then. In 2016, she brought in $3.6 million in prize money and $3 million in endorsements, according to Forbes.
16. Jelena Jankovic Net Worth: $15 million
Serbian tennis player Jelena Jankovic was ranked the No. 1 women's singles player in 2008 and again briefly in 2009. She has finished in or near the Top 20 from 2006 through 2015. Jankovic and partner Jamie Murray won Wimbledon mixed doubles in 2007. Jankovic has won more than a dozen singles titles throughout her career.
Jankovic has enjoyed a number of endorsements throughout the years, including with Reebok and the Chinese sportswear firm Anta. She has a net worth of $15 million.
15. Lorena Ochoa Net Worth: $15 million
Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa started playing golf at age 5. According to the LPGA, she competed in 173 LPGA events as a member, finishing in the Top 3 in 63 of those events. In addition to her success on the green, Ochoa has been recognized as one of Newsweek magazine's 11 Most Powerful Women in 2007 and one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2008.
Ochoa retired from golf in 2010 in order to start a family. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017. Her career earnings total just under $15 million.
14. Ana Ivanovic Net Worth: $16 million
Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic has won 15 WTA Tour titles, as well as the 2008 French Open. Once ranked No. 1, Ivanovic experienced a number of injuries that caused her rank to slip in recent years. She ended her 2016 season early in September due to wrist and toe injuries but was still able to pull in $1.9 million in prize money and $5.5 million in endorsements.
Ivanovic retired from professional tennis at the end of 2016.
13. Lindsay Davenport Net Worth: $20 million
Retired since 2010, American tennis player Lindsay Davenport enjoyed a career that spanned 17 years. Davenport won the gold medal for women's singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She also won 93 champions (55 singles, 38 doubles), including six Grand Slams. In 2014, Davenport was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
According to Forbes, Davenport brought in $22.2 million in prize money throughout her career.
12. Caroline Wozniacki Net Worth: $20 million
Caroline Wozniacki, who started playing tennis at age 7, is the product of an athletic family. Her father played professional soccer in Poland and Denmark, her mother played volleyball for the Polish National Team, and her brother played professional soccer in Denmark. Currently ranked No. 7, Wozniacki has won 25 singles titles and two doubles titles. She finished her season with the Top 20 for the ninth straight year in 2016.
Wozniacki competed for her home country of Denmark in the 2016 Rio Olympics. According to Forbes, she earned $8 million in 2016, most of which was from endorsements. Her most lucrative endorsement partner is Adidas.
11. Kim Yuna Net Worth: $21 million
South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna — affectionately known as Queen or Queen Yuna — is a two-time Olympian. Her two programs at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics shattered previous record scores and earned her a gold medal. Four years later at the Sochi Olympics, Yuna earned a silver medal. Her loss to Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova is still considered controversial in the world of figure skating. Yuna is highly credited with bringing the 2018 Olympics to South Korea.
According to the website Money Inc, Yuna has a net worth of $21 million and has major endorsement deals with Nike, Samsung, Hyundai and Korean Air, among others.
10. Agnieszka Radwańska Net Worth: $25 million
Polish tennis player Agnieszka Radwańska began her professional career in 2005, as did her younger sister, Urszula. Currently ranked No. 7, Radwańska has won 20 singles titles and two doubles titles. In 2016, she pulled in an impressive $10.2 million, roughly half of which was from prize money and the other half from endorsements. At the end of 2016, her prize money totaled $23 million, the sixth highest of all time.
Radwańska's endorsement deals include Lotto, Babolat and Lexus, among others. She has a net worth of $25 million.
9. Martina Hingis Net Worth: $25 million
Considered a teenage prodigy, Martina Hingis became the youngest ever Grand Slam junior winner in 1993 — one year prior to the start of her professional career. She won a total of 81 titles from 1994-2007. Hingis retired from singles play in 2002 only to return again a couple of years later. She retired from singles again in 2007.
Today, Hingis enjoys a successful doubles career. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Hingis and partner Timea Bacsinszky won silver medals for Switzerland. Hingis was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.
8. Annika Sörenstam Net Worth: $40 million
Regarded as one of the best female golfers of all time, Annika Sörenstam entered the professional circuit in 1994. Throughout her career, she had a total of 89 wins, including 10 major wins. She also accumulated countless other awards, including eight ESPYs. In 2003, she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Retired since 2008, Sörenstam's career earnings are more than $22 million. According to her website, she is the first player in LPGA history to cross the $20 million earnings mark.
7. Li Na Net Worth: $50 million
Chinese tennis star Li Na shot to fame in 2011 when she became the first Asian player to make the finals at the Australian Open and the first Asian-born tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam singles event at the French Open. Na returned to Australia in 2014 to claim the Grand Slam title.
Na announced her retirement in 2014, the same year Forbes named her one of the highest-paid female athletes. Na earned $23.6 million in 2014, $18 million of which was from endorsements. Na has continued to enjoy big endorsement deals long after her retirement. Recently, she partnered with Nike to launch the Li Na collection in China.
6. Anna Kournikova Net Worth: $50 million
Anna Kournikova is no doubt one of the most famous female tennis players of all time. The Russian player enjoyed some success throughout her career, including two Grand Slam doubles wins; however, she never won a Grand Slam singles title.
Despite mediocre success on the court, Kournikova enjoyed a number of lucrative endorsements due to her growing celebrity. In 2012, Kournikova appeared as a celebrity trainer on the show "The Biggest Loser." She continues to model today.
5. Danica Patrick Net Worth: $60 million
Auto racer Danica Patrick started her career as an Indianapolis 500 racer. She is the first woman to lead laps and score a Top 5 finish in the Indianapolis 500, a feat she achieved in 2005. She is also the first woman to win an IndyCar race, the Indy Japan 300 in 2008.
In 2013, Patrick made the move to NASCAR. She drives the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Patrick has enjoyed a number of different endorsement deals throughout her career. She is famously associated with GoDaddy. Danica Patrick's net worth is $60 million.
4. Venus Williams Net Worth: $75 million
Currently ranked No. 12, Venus Williams is one of the most famous names in the sport of tennis. Williams became a professional tennis player in 1994, one year before her younger sister Serena. Williams has won 49 singles titles and 22 doubles titles. She has also won five Olympic medals, four gold and one silver. In 2016, she and Serena won their sixth Wimbledon doubles title.
Williams has won more than $36 million in prize money throughout her career. She also enjoys a number of endorsement deals, which add to her net worth of $75 million.
3. Alexis DeJoria Net Worth: $100 million
Alexis DeJoria is a drag racer competing in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). DeJoria races the Funny Car, a type of race car that can reach speeds over 330 miles per hour. She has four career wins in the NHRA Funny Car Division and is the first female driver to be clocked under 4 seconds in a Funny Car.
DeJoria is the daughter of billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, who co-founded the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and The Patrón Spirits Company. DeJoria's Toyota Camry Funny Car is sponsored by Tequila Patrón.
2. Maria Sharapova Net Worth: $135 million
Russian-born Maria Sharapova began her professional career in 2001. She has won 23 singles titles — including five Grand Slam titles — and three doubles titles. Sharapova won a silver medal for women's singles at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sharapova was just one of two female athletes to make the 2016 Forbes' World's Highest-Paid Athletes list. Ranked No. 88 on that list, she earned $21.9 million that year, $20 million of which was from endorsements. She has won approximately $36.5 million in prize money to date, making her one of the highest-paid tennis players.
In March, Sharapova announced that she had tested positive for the drug meldonium. The International Tennis Federation suspended Sharapova from the sport for two years due to the failed drug test. While the suspension was later reduced to 15 months, Sharapova missed the 2016 Rio Olympic games.
Sharapova lost sponsor Tag Heuer after the announcement. Other sponsors that include Nike and Porsche suspended promotional plans with the player, though they did not terminate their contracts.
1. Serena Williams Net Worth: $160 million
Serena Williams is a dominating force in the sport of tennis. Currently ranked No. 1 in the world, Williams started her professional career in 1995. She has won a staggering 22 Grand Slam singles — 72 in all — and 14 Grand Slam doubles titles — 23 in all. She has also won two mixed doubles titles. Like her sister, Venus, she is a decorated Olympian with a total of four gold medals.
Williams is the highest-paid female athlete on 2016 Forbes' World's Highest-Paid Athletes list. Ranked No. 40 on the list overall, Williams earned $28.9 million in 2016, $20 million of which came from endorsements from sponsors like Nike and Wilson. She also enjoys sponsorship deals with companies like Beats, Delta Air Lines and IBM, among others. Williams has equity deals with the Home Shopping Network and Mission Athletecare and has a small stake in the Miami Dolphins, according to Forbes. Serena Williams' net worth is $160 million.
All net worth figures are according to CelebrityNetWorth.com unless otherwise noted. Women's tennis rankings are accurate as of May 11, 2017.