Iga Swiatek sealed the year-end world No 1 ranking as she claimed the WTA Finals title in Cancun on Monday, with the huge pay cheque that came with her triumph allowing her to make a big leap on the all-time prize money chart.
Swiatek’s victory sealed a sixth WTA title of the year for Swiatek, who also won her third French Open, while Pegula will end a year that saw her reach two grand slam quarter-finals ranked fifth.
It concluded a troubled tournament which drew criticism from the eight leading women players for its problematic build-up, with the temporary venue only completed with one day to spare.
The $3,078,000 prize cheque handed to the Polish star was the biggest payday of her career so far and it has propelled Swiatek into the top 20 of the all-time prize money winners in women’s tennis.
The list is led by 23-time Grand Slam title-winning legend Serena Williams, who won a eye-watering $94,816,730 during her record-breaking career.
Her sister Venus Williams is next on the all-time list with $42,595,397, with the list dominated by players from the modern era, as prized money has multiplied substantially in recent years.
Simona Halep, who is currently appealing a four-year doping ban, is third in the all-time prize money list with $40,203,437 and Maria Sharapova is fourth with $38,777,962.
Swiatek is still some way off those numbers, but she will not take long to leap up the ladder if she continues to win consistently over the next few years.
Her win in Mexico has seen her break into the top 20 of the all-time prize money list, moving ahead of Naomi Osaka ahead of the Japanese player’s return to action in 2024.
Just ahead of those two modern greats are Martina Navratilova on $21,626,089 and German legend Steffi Graf, who won $21,895,277 during her decorated career.
Those figures would be dramatically inflated if Navratilova and Graf were competing for the prize money that is available now, as they both enjoyed periods of dominance that have rarely been seen in any sport.
Swiatek has always insisted money is not her chief driving force, as she admitted at the end of 2022 that titles on the court mean more.
“Money isn’t my motivation but the tricky thing is I earned it really on court and other players earned it mostly from endorsements so there’s a difference,” she said.
“I’m pretty happy that my life changed so much that I can compete at the highest level and earn so much money from it because this is also something that is really helping us appreciate the sport we have.”
Prize money in the women’s game has been a big talking point over the course of this year, but the final tally for the season confirms the game’s top players have reaped the rewards of their success:
WTA PRIZE MONEY LEADERS IN 2023
Aryna Sabalenka ($7,554,653)
Iga Swiatek ($6,779,686)
Coco Gauff ($5,976,622)
Elena Rybakina ($5,097,437)
Jesica Pegula ($4,320,890)
Marteka Vondusova ($4,275,278)
Karolina Muchova ($2,804,438)
Ons Jabuer ($2,798,564)
Petra Kvitova ($2,488,381)
Maria Sakkari ($2,407,413)