Maria Sharapova signed her first promotional contact as early as 11. Source: Getty Images
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is one of the 20 highest-paid athletes of the last decade, according to Forbes magazine. Sharapova is the only woman in Forbes magazine's list, where she is ranked in 18th place. The list is led by American golfer Tiger Woods.
Sharapova’s income for the last 10 years is estimated at $250 million – enough to leave the likes of British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the dust.
Most of her income comes from endorsements. According to Forbes' estimates, the Russian earns $6.7 million actually on court, while endorsement revenues bring her $23 million.
Sharapova signed her first promotional contact as early as 11. In 1998, Nike became the technical sponsor of the Russian, who at that time had already moved to the United States. The American sports giant and the Russian star have been inseparable ever since: In 2010 the parties signed a new deal that broke all records for women's tennis – eight years in exchange for $70 million.
Sharapova - Nike Commercial 'I feel pretty'. Source: Youtube
In 2004, the 17-year-old Sharapova brought home a sensational victory from Wimbledon. This breakthrough opened the doors into the world of big money. Just a month after the victory the young tennis star signed a contact with Motorola, estimated at $1 million per year, according to unofficial sources. The company is not doing so well as a decade ago, but Sharapova is still on a roll: In 2008 she changed Motorola for Sony Ericsson, and in 2012 she became the face of Samsung, the market leader in smartphones.
Maria Sharapova Samsung Galaxy 3 Commercial. Source: Youtube
In no time Sharapova became a star not only on court, but also in social life. The Russian athlete’s new status sparked the attention of luxury brands, and she is now the face of the Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer and American jewelry house Tiffany & Co. Not long ago the designers of Tiffany & Co even created a jewelry collection specially for Sharapova. Under the terms of the contract, she must wear Tiffany jewelry during all major matches.
The giants of the automobile industry haven't left Sharapova unattended either. Since 2006 she has been collaborating with Land Rover, and in 2013 she signed a contact with Porsche. The invitation to collaborate came from the Germans after Sharapova won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart in 2012.
Maria Sharapova driven to Pre-Wimbledon party in a Porsche 918 Spyder. Source: Youtube