Australian Open

Serena breaks earnings record

2009-01-30 10:50
Sport's richest female (Gallo Images)

Melbourne - Serena Williams said she was "thrilled" after becoming the all-time top earner in women's sport - and then boosted her winnings further by taking the Australian Open doubles title.

Williams pocketed $150 000 for the win along with her sister Venus, swelling her career earnings to $22 875 475 and further past the record held by the recently retired golfing great Annika Sorenstam.

"I have a great partner. I don't have to work too hard out there. Just hit some big serves. Venus hits some big serves. We put the ball away," Williams said.

WTA officials said Williams, 27, had outstripped Sorenstam's $22 573 192 by reaching the doubles and singles finals here. She stands to earn another $1.3 million if she beats Russia's Dinara Safina on Saturday.

"I'm thrilled with the news. 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," said Williams.

"It's amazing how much women's tennis has grown since I joined the tour 14 years ago. 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."

Williams turned professional at the age of 14 in November 1995 and played her first tournament in Quebec City, Canada.

In her 14-year career she has won nine Grand Slams, becoming only the sixth woman, other than Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, to match the feat.

Of the current players, only Serena's older sister Venus comes close to such an achievement, with seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name.

Serena was a winner at the US Open in 1999, then won Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2002 and the Australian Open in 2003 for a calendar Grand Slam.

She won the Australian Open title again in 2005 and 2007 and also took the US Open title last year.

In addition, Williams has won two Olympic Gold medals, both playing doubles with Venus, in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008. She holds 32 singles and 14 doubles titles.

Williams passed the one million dollar mark at the 1999 Roland Garros, later exceeding the 10 million mark in 2002 and the 20 million mark in 2008, both at the WTA Championships.

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