Badzine reveals the list of the top 50 badminton earners based on the prize money which was awarded during the 2014 season for all Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments.

This year, it was the world’s top doubles player who pulled in the most cash. 

Women’s and mixed doubles world #1 Zhao Yunlei was not only successful playing for prestige – taking two titles at the BWF World Championships and two golds and a bronze at the Asian Games – she also did well at badminton’s big money events, including picking up one winner’s cheque at each of the four most lucrative tournaments on the BWF World Superseries circuit.

This is only the third time that Badzine has compiled a list of the top prize winners but Zhao Yunlei is both the first woman and the first doubles player to come out on top. 

Second in 2014 was Zhao’s compatriot Chen Long, who was only slightly behind her with USD 223,550 in total winnings. 

The top ten was divided evenly with five men and five women and also with five players from China and five from the rest of the world.

Zhao’s 2014 total was substantially lower than that of 2013 leader Lee Chong Wei, who was the only one over the US$200,000 mark last year but fell to #7 on the 2014 list after not collecting any prize money in the second half of the year.  

However, there seemed to be more money to go around this year as three more shuttlers than last year were in six figure range and the players who now occupy the #50 spot won nearly $7,000 more than did their 2013 counterpart.

European badminton players did not fare as well this year.  Although European representation in the top 20 doubled from one to two, Christinna Pedersen fell from her top ten position in 2013 to #20 in the 2014 standings. 

She was the second-highest European prize-winner behind compatriot Jan O. Jorgensen, #18 on the list. 

Europe again had six players in the top 50 but this year, all six were from Denmark.  Women’s singles World Champion Carolina Marin of Spain was just a few hundred dollars short of Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin of Chinese Taipei, who shared the #50 spot.

Carolina Marin was also one of four top ten singles players who were not among the fifty ‘richest’ badminton players in 2014.  The highest-ranked shuttlers to be outside the top 50 in winnings were men’s doubles #3 Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan.

Unlike the figures presented by Forbes magazine for the richest tennis players, for example, the numbers presented here are quite specific.

These calculations do not take into account sponsorship money, nor do they include national team salaries or any other support from national associations for a player’s training, accommodation, or travel expenses. 

Instead, the Badzine list counts only the prize money awarded to players for BWF-sanctioned tournaments, before taxes and/or percentages that may be kept by some players’ national associations.

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