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Maria Sharapova Defeats Serena Williams: 'Sugarpova' Is Highest-Paid Female Athlete in the World, Topping Williams for Top Spot [VIDEO]

Greg Archuleta
By Greg Archuleta (gregory.archuleta@comcast..net) @GeigaSr
on Dec 07, 2013 11:05 AM EST
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Maria Sharapova finally defeated nemesis Serena Williams in 2013. It's actually her ninth straight victory over Serena

Forbes Magazine revealed that the Russian tennis star topped the list of the world's highest-paid athletes for 2013. Sharapova earned $29 million from prize money, endorsements and appearance fees between June 2012 and June 2013.

She won $6 million in prize money and a whopping $23 million in endorsements. She has deals with Nike, Head, Samsung Electronics, Tag Heuer and added Porsche in April. Her French Open win in 2012 completed her career grand slam, Forbes reported, triggering handsome bonuses with some of her sponsors.

Sharapova was the top-earning female athlete for the ninth consecutive year. In 2012, she launched her own candy business, Sugarpova, with her own money, Forbes reported. Her company expects to sell 1.5 million bags of her gummy candy in the first year at $5 to $6 per bag.

Williams was second on the list, earning $20.5 million - $8 million in prize money and $12 million from sponsors Nike, Gatorade, Wilson and OPI. Williams has $47 million in career prize money, the most of any female athlete.

Tennis players hold of the top 10 spots among the highest-paid female athletes, according to Forbes. Ironically, Williams' sister Venus was the catalyst for that; she led a campaign for equal pay among men's and women's tennis players, and two of the four majors changed their policy in 2007 to make the prize money equal for men and women.

China's Li Na came in third place among highest-paid female athletes, collecting $18.2 million, including $3.2 million in prize money. After winning the 2011 French Open, Forbes reports, Li's sponsorship opportunities soared. She signed seven multi-million dollar deals, including contracts with Samsung and Mercedes Benz.

Victoria Azarenka, who set a record with $7.9 million in prize earnings for a female, regardless of sport, earned $15.7 million overall during the Forbes time period (from June to June, including $6.7 million in competition earnings), was fourth.

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was the first non-tennis player on the list, checking in at No. 5. She earned $15 million, according to Forbes, which did not break down how much money came from racing.

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