23 time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and Japan's Naomi Osaka have been named among the Top 10 Most Influential Women in Sports for 2020 by iSportconnect. 38 year Williams is ranked in the Top 10 in the world and is chasing her record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title in tennis.
She is also become a major businesswoman with investments in several companies and has been supporting the cause of working mothers since her return to tennis as a mother. Osaka has won 2 Grand Slam titles and has become an icon in Japan and across the world after her breakthrough win at the 2018 US Open.
The panel for choosing the list included Anna Lockwood, Head of Global Sales – Telstra, Sally Hancock, Managing Partner – Y Sport and Former Chair of Women in Sport, Aarti Dabas, Former Head of Media Rights for the ICC, and iSportconnect Chief Executive Officer Sree Varma.
Serena Williams was cited in the list for 'picked due to her overall impact both on the court, as debatably the greatest female player of all time, but also as a businesswoman.' Osaka was chosen for her 'two slam titles and has become a strong female voice and social presence in sport.'
Others in the list included (in no particular order) -
- Simone Biles, Gymnast – Currently one of the greatest athletes in the world and an ever-growing voice for women in sport.
- Megan Rapinoe, Footballer – Someone who is never afraid to speak her mind and talk about social issues and has become a prominent figure in women’s sport, particularly following her incredible 2019 Women’s World Cup campaign.
- Ellie Norman, Director of Marketing and Communications, Formula 1 – One of the biggest voices at one of sport’s largest global organisations and a true leader, in a sport stereotypically male-dominated.
- Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner, WNBA – After overseeing her first season as commissioner of the WNBA in 2019 she will be looking to continue the league’s continual growth this summer.
- Fatma Samoura, Secretary General, FIFA – A key figure at one of, if not the biggest organisation within all of sport, for many years she has been, and continues to be, a leader for women aiming to move into sport.
- Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics – Davis has led the Special Olympics as CEO since 2016 but been involved with the organisation for many years in a variety of roles since leaving full-time education.
- Clare Connor, Managing Director – Women’s Cricket, ECB – A legendary player who captained her country during her career, Connor has spent a number of years in the governance space as she continues to grow the game of cricket for women and girls in the UK, recently spearheading a new campaign to transform the sport.
- Nita Ambani, Owner, Mumbai Indians – Ambani has led her Mumbai Indians franchise to becoming the most successful in IPL history and has been involved in many sports projects across different sports in the country.
India's Sania Mirza was the other tennis player, who did not make the final 10. All England Club's Strategic Planning & Operations Director Sally Bolton was also on the list of 25. Here is a list of those who did not make the final cut.
- Jeanie Buss, President, LA Lakers.
- Kim Davis, EVP of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislation, NHL.
- Marie Donoghue, Vice President of Sports Video, Amazon.
- Mithali Raj, Captain, Indian Women’s Cricket Team.
- Debbie Jevans CBE, Executive Chair, EFL.
- Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Dubai Duty Free.
- Sally Bolton, Strategic Planning and Operations Director, AELTC.
- Nathalie Boy de la Tour, President, LFP
- Johanna Wood, President, New Zealand Football.
- Florence Hardouin, General Manager, French Football Federation.
- Sania Mirza, Tennis Player, India.
- Michele Roberts, Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association.
- Roxana Mărăcineanu, French Sports Minister.
- Amaia Gorostiza, President, SD Eibar.
- Lesa France Kennedy, CEO, International Speedway Corporation.