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Serena Williams, Top Career Prize Money Winner in Women's Sports

Female Tennis Player's Lifetime Tournament Earnings Top $23.5 Million

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Serena Williams, Top Career Prize Money Winner in Women's Sports

Serena Williams

© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Love may mean nothing in tennis. But for 27-year-old Serena Williams, power, agility and speed has earned her the record for most career prize money earned by a female athlete in women's sports.

On January 28, 2009, after advancing to the finals of the Australian Open and reaching the doubles final with sister Venus, her career total reached $22,753,575. That figure surpassed the old record of $22,573,192 held by LPGA player Annika Sorenstam. And with the Williams sisters winning the women's doubles on January 30 and Serena the Australian Open on January 31, her career earnings topped $23.5 million.

Upon hearing the news of her record-breaking achievement, Serena commented on how much women's tennis has grown in the 14 years since she joined the Women's Tennis Association (WTA); and she looked back at her first win:

I remember earning my first cheque of $240 at Quebec City in 1995 and while I knew that I could have a great career in tennis, I could not have imagined or dreamed of all of this.... I am very proud to have reached this milestone for me, my family and all women athletes out there. This achievement really shows that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
That win at Quebec City, Canada, was her first tournament and marked the beginning of Serena's professional career in tennis at age 14. Although she has not won the most titles in women's tennis, the increase in prize money over the years has made her the top earner in women's sports. According to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour:
In 1971, total Tour prize money for 19 events was $309,100; in 2009, it has grown to over $86 million at the Tour's 55 events (including the Grand Slams).

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