Emma Raducanu earns more money during injury layoff than Aus Open winner

Forbes have released their official list of the highest-paid female athletes in 2023 and Emma Raducanu’s name appears near the top despite spending eight months on the sidelines. The Brit underwent triple surgery in May but was the fourth-highest earner for the year, outdoing Aryna Sabalenka. The 25-year-old enjoyed a career-best season, winning her first Grand Slam title in Australia and reaching No 1 in the world, but still didn’t pocket as much money as the injured Raducanu.

Tennis players once again dominated Forbes’ list of the highest-earning female athletes. World No 1 Iga Swiatek came in on top after picking up £7.8 million ($9.9 million) on the court and £11m ($14m) off it. Freestyle skier Eileen Gu was second on the list with Coco Gauff coming in third after picking up her maiden Grand Slam trophy at the US Open in September. The American earned £5.3m ($6.7m) from her tennis and £12m ($15m) away from the sport.

While Swiatek and Gauff enjoyed successful seasons – both winning Majors among several other titles – Raducanu was hot on their heels in the standings despite a year spoiled by injuries. The 2021 US Open champion has not played a match since April and only earned £188k ($238k) in prize money but still managed to make it to fourth on the list.

Despite her difficult season, the 21-year-old took home £12m ($15m) from off-court deals. Raducanu is a brand ambassador for the likes of Dior, Porsche, British Airways and HSBC, and her sponsorships proved lucrative even when she was forced away from competition. As well as the three surgeries she underwent in May on both wrists and one ankle, she dealt with some other setbacks earlier in the year.

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The former world No 10 rolled her ankle during her first tournament of the season at the ASB Classic in Auckland. It left Raducanu in a boot just days before the Australian Open but she managed to take to the court in Melbourne and even won a match. She then took some time out to recover from the injury and was set to return at the ATX Open.

But she had to pull out after picking up tonsillitis, later admitting she had “never felt so sick in my life”. Raducanu enjoyed a triumphant run to the round-of-16 in Indian Wells, beating two top-15 opponents en route, but played just two more tournaments before ending her season.

The 2021 US Open champion still managed to exceed the earnings of several top players, including current world No 2 Sabalenka. The Belarusian ticked off her two biggest goals this year when she won a long-awaited Major title in Melbourne and made her debut at No 1 in the world following her run to the US Open final.

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Sabalenka was the sixth highest-paid female athlete for the year behind Naomi Osaka in fifth place who did not play a match all season as she gave birth to her first child in July. The majority of Sabalenka’s money came from the tennis court, as she earned £6.5m ($8.2m) in prize money.

It comes as no surprise given how successful her season was even outside of the Australian Open. Sabalenka also reached the final in Flushing Meadows and the semi-final of both the French Open and Wimbledon. She picked up two other singles titles – the Madrid WTA 1000 and the Adelaide International.

Meanwhile, £5.1m ($6.5) came away from the field as she signed a deal with Maestro Dobel Tequila and continued her Nike sponsorship. Elsewhere on the list, Jessica Pegula came in seventh place followed by Venus Williams, Elena Rybakina and Leylah Fernandez to round out the top 10.

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