SHUTTLER PV Sindhu is seventh on the Forbes list of highest-earning women sportspersons in the world. Despite badminton’s semi-professional status in most parts of the world, the Rio Olympics silver medallist earned $8.5 million in the period between June 2017 and June 2018 — this includes her prize winnings and endorsement deals.
While the list is headed by tennis legend Serena Williams, the surprise was Sindhu pipping tennis’s current World No. 1 Simona Halep and German Angelique Kerber, winner of three Grand Slam singles titles including Wimbledon 2018.
A major part of Sindhu’s earnings comes from off the court, as the prize money in badminton is still not on par with some of the other sports. In fact, as much as $8 million of her income is from endorsements.
“The Indian badminton player burst on the scene with a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She was the first Indian female athlete to win a silver. The 23-year-old has a robust sponsor roster with Bridgestone, Gatorade, Nokia, Panasonic, Reckitt Benckiser and a half-dozen other brands,” Forbes wrote.
Sindhu is also the brand ambassador for the Central Reserve Police Force and Vizag Steel.
Serena returned to tennis recently after giving birth to a daughter. While her on-court earnings dipped due to her time away, she still managed to earn $18.062 million, with only $62,000 coming as prize money.
She is followed on the Forbes list by fellow tennis players Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova and elder sister Venus.
American former professional racing driver Danica Patrick is the only other non-tennis player in the top 10, at No. 9, sandwiched between Halep and Kerber.
After her return from the Rio Games, Sindhu received cash awards from different state governments and government institutions adding up to Rs 13 crore, while gold medallist Marin, who defeated the Indian in the final, received only Rs 70 lakh from the Spanish government.