Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has retained the status of Russia's richest athlete with an income of $24 million in 2009, the Finans business magazine said.
According to a Finans ranking published on Friday, Sharapova's earnings dropped by $1.5 million against 2008. She earned just $900,000 from tennis tournaments this year, with the remainder coming from commercial sponsorship deals.
The former world No. 1 finished the season ranked 14th, her lowest yearend position since 2003, having come back from almost a year out with injury problems that saw her fall out of the top 100.
As in 2008, basketball player Andrei Kirilenko, the only Russian in the NBA, remained the second highest-earning athlete with $15.1 million. However, the magazine predicted his income will grow if a predicted move from the Utah Jazz to the New Jersey Nets goes ahead when Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov buys into the franchise.
Finans put ice hockey star Alexander Ovechkin, who signed an NHL-record 13-year, $124 million contract in 2008, third with earnings estimated at $12 million. The Washington Capitals left-wing has won two straight league MVP awards.
Russian national football team captain Andrei Arshavin came fourth in the Finans' ranking with $11.25 million after he signed with Arsenal of the English Premier League in February. Although the forward reportedly took a pay cut to join the London club from his hometown Zenit St. Petersburg, he has become a part of Nike's worldwide advertising campaign since the move.
MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti)