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Revealed: Maria Sharapova the world’s highest-paid sportswoman

Astonishingly, SEVEN of the 10 richest sportswomen in the world over the last year were tennis players, with Maria Sharapova topping the heady list with earnings of a staggering $29m (£18.9m).

The list of the world's richest sportswomen, compiled by Forbes, revealed the vast wealth on offer for the finest performers across a range of sports, but it was tennis that came out very much on top.

Sharapova - whose business empire extends to sweets with her Sugarpova brand - has racked up endorsements of $23m to see her top the list.

The Russian's incredible endorsement range brings in a figure that dwarfs the $6m she collected in prize money for her on-court performances for the 12-month period ending in June.

The bulk of Sharapova's income came from sportswear manufacturers Nike and racket brand Head, while the 26-year-old's sweets brand also added a hefty figure to her overall takings.

Perhaps surprisingly, Sharapova even earned more than male tennis counterparts Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who picked up $26.9m and $26.4m.

Serena Williams of the USA, the world number one, was second in the list of female earners with $20.5m, followed by China's Li Na ($18.2m) and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus ($15.7m).

The top 10 also featured fellow tennis players Caroline Wozniacki ($13.6m) and Agnieszka Radwanska ($7.4m) - neither of whom have won a single Grand Slam in their careers to date - and Ana Ivanovic ($7m).

The only three non-tennis players in the women's top 10 are American Nascar driver Danica Patrick ($15m), South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna ($14m) and US golfer Paula Creamer ($5.5m).

Forbes list of the world's highest-paid female athletes 2013

1 Maria Sharapova (tennis)

2 Serena Williams (tennis)

3 Li Na (tennis)

4 Victoria Azarenka (tennis)

5 Danica Patrick (motor racing)

6 Kim Yuna (figure skating)

7 Caroline Wozniacki (tennis)

8 Agnieszka Radwanska (tennis)

9 Ana Ivanovic (tennis)

10 Paula Creamer (golf)

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