35-year-old Serena Williams is the only female athlete across the globe who has made it to the list of highest paid athletes in 2017.

Only one female athlete in the list

According to the list published by Forbes on Thursday, apart from the tennis icon Serena Williams no other female player was included on the list, which means that there are 99 other male athletes on the list. The mom-to-be American tennis player stood at the 51st spot on the list and reportedly made $27 million last year in 2016.

According to "Forbes", these earnings not only include the prize money from her tennis games but also comprise of at least a dozen endorsement collaborations with numerous brands which include Beats by Dre, Nike, JP Morgan Chase, Wilson and Gatorade among many others.

Serena first became world number one on July 8, 2002 and her total career earnings stand somewhere near $84 million, that is almost $50 million greater than the earning of any other female professional tennis player.

However, there is a huge disparity between the earnings of male and female athletes as apparent from the number of female players present on the list. According to "Forbes" Serena Williams only made a total of $8 million last year (in salary/winnings) and $19 million in endorsements as compared to Ronaldo's $58 million (in salary/winnings) and $35 million in endorsements.

While the Portuguese football sensation, 32-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo who plays for the Spanish club "Real Madrid", was at the top of the list after making $93 million last year in 2016.

Whereas the 32-year-old American professional basketball player LeBron James who plays for the "Cleveland Cavaliers" was ranked at second in the list of highest earning athletes for making $86.2 million last year.

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Another notable change this year was the absence of Maria Sharapova from the list, who had previously held the title for being the highest earning female athlete for a total of eleven years. However 23 time Grand Slam title winner Serena Williams took the title from Sharapova in 2016. Sharapova was suspended from playing on the court last year for 15-months after she was tested positively for the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Other popular athletes who made it to the list

29-year-old Lionel Messi who is an Argentinian professional footballer playing for the Spanish club FC Barcelona came at number three with a total of $80 million. Roger Federer, James Harden, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods, Neymar and Dwayne Wade also made it in the top twenty.