NAME, SET AND MATCH TO MISS SUGARPOVA

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When it comes to marketing strategies, just how far is too far? Tennis star Maria Sharapova – already the richest female athlete in the world – just may have crossed the fine line between pulling out all the stops to promote a product, and making herself look, well, a bit daft.

Sharapova’s latest business venture is rather out of sync with her super sporty image. She’s launched her own range of sweets, under the somewhat unsubtle name of ‘Sugarpova’. The high-end brand is already stocked in Selfridges in the UK, and retails at £3.99 per bag.

The 26-year-old has now gone one step further, and made enquiries at the Supreme Court of Florida about the possibility of a ‘quickie’ name change. For the two-week duration of the US open next year, Sharapova could become Sugarpova.

At the contest, Sharapova will be wearing tennis whites emblazoned with a small pair of red lips – the sweet brand’s logo. With over $23 million in the bank (a large chunk of which is the result of endorsements), there can be no doubt that Miss Sharapova has her eyes well and truly on the prize when it comes to money making.

Sharapova has apparently since decided that changing her name to Sugarpova, and back to Sharapova, in the space of a fortnight would be too much trouble. With a visit to Japan planned for immediately after the tournament, it seems she was unwilling to keep her pseudonym for longer than strictly necessary.

This could just be a blessing in disguise for Sharapova. Surely, “advantage, Sugarpova” would have sparked suppressed laughter all round. Although maybe I’m not giving ‘Miss Sugarpova’ enough credit. Perhaps this is all just a clever ruse to put her opponents off…