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Most famous women athletes in the world right now 11-17


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11. Victoria Azarenka

Belarus, tennis

Victoria Azarenka, a new mother flush with motivation and a deeper sense of responsibility, was raring to go as the 2017 grass-court season opened. But a court order arising from a custody battle with her infant son's father stopped the Belarusian in her tracks after just two events (she was 4-2, with two victories at Wimbledon). Unable by law to travel with son Leo, Azarenka chose not to travel at all. The custody case is ongoing. Azarenka, 28, and No. 98 on the World Fame 100, joined Serena Williams to lobby tennis officials to provide greater maternity support in the way of protected rankings and seedings. -- Peter Bodo

12. Sania Mirza

India, tennis

Sania Mirza has seen the good -- and bad -- sides of fame. When she started out, she was endeavoring to become the first Muslim woman to play tennis professionally in India. This meant dealing with relentless criticism: Her tennis skirt was too small, she had too much makeup on, she was too career-oriented. Despite it all, she succeeded on the court and off. Mirza, rounding out the World Fame 100 at No. 100, was named United Nations Women's Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia and, in 2016, was named in Time's 100 Most Influential People in the world list. Mirza is attracting more attention than ever with the announcement of her pregnancy with husband and former Pakistani cricket captain, Shoaib Malik. -- Aishwarya Kumar

13. Garbine Muguruza

Spain, tennis

The reigning Wimbledon champ and the No. 3 player in the world is Spain's only representation on espnW's list of the 25 most famous women athletes. Muguruza toppled Venus Williams in last year's Wimbledon final in straight sets, capturing her second Grand Slam, after winning the French Open in 2016. Her success on the court has translated to high-profile appearances and endorsements off the court: She walked the red carpet of the 2018 Oscars wearing Spanish designer Hannibal Laguna, became the face of Grammy Award-winning musician Pharrell Williams' 2017 retro-inspired tennis line for Adidas and, alongside Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, signed on as one of Rolex's Leading Sportswomen. -- Laura M. Purtell

14. Danica Patrick

USA, motorsports

The on- and off-track fame of Danica Patrick, the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race, has been well documented over the past decade (see: GoDaddy ads, high-profile relationship with Aaron Rodgers). Now, as her driving career comes to an end -- she'll retire after her last Indy 500 race this month -- Patrick is diving head-first into her lifestyle brand. Her new book, "Pretty Intense," which details her "90-day mind, body and food plan," dropped in December, and she told espnW she'd like to focus on her wine brand (Somnium) and clothing brand (Warrior) and start a cooking show in retirement. -- Laura M. Purtell

15. Ding Ning

China, table tennis

To anyone not yet familiar with Ding Ning, allow us to introduce you: She was a member of the gold medal-winning table tennis team from China at the 2012 London Olympics, where she also took home silver for the singles event. She won the 2011, 2015 and the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships in singles, as well as the 2011 and 2014 World Cup. (Her medal count gets borderline unwieldy when you start counting her team accolades too.) And according to ESPN's ranking, she's the most famous woman table-tennis player in China, with more than 2 million followers on Weibo, one of China's biggest social media platforms. -- Laura M. Purtell

16. Tessa Virtue

Canada, figure skating

With partner Scott Moir, Canadian ice dancer Tessa Virtue became figure skating's most decorated Olympian by securing two more gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games. Their steamy free dance to "Moulin Rouge" set the internet ablaze with fevered speculation about whether the two are a couple in real life, a question Ellen DeGeneres tackled head-on in an interview on her show. (Sorry, world, they said no.) Since the Olympics, Virtue and Moir have been enjoying a victory lap around Canada, touring with Stars on Ice, hanging out with Drake at a Raptors game and making plans for the future. Let's all hope it's with each other! -- Elaine Teng

17. Simone Biles

USA, gymnastics

Simone Biles made her World Fame 100 debut at No. 48 last year -- not a surprise, given the high-flying gymnast had won gold in vault, floor and the all-around at the Rio Olympics just nine months prior. (She also helped Team USA take home gold.) Though she's fallen from the Top 100 in 2018, she has partnered with Target and Always to become a spokesperson for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that helps young girls gain confidence and life skills through running. She gave herself a year of rest after Rio ("no less, no more," she told espnW's Alyssa Roenigk) and hired a new coach ("change is good"). Now her sights are set on the 2020 Games in Tokyo. -- Laura M. Purtell

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