Maria Sharapova has a sweet publicity stunt in the bag for the US Open this year, the Russian tennis star is set to change her name to Maria Sugarpova for the duration of the tournament, in a bid to promote her confectionery brand, Sugarpova.
Sharapova, the richest female athlete in the world, has had her annual earnings boosted by the Sugarpova sweets brand, having sold nearly 2 millions packets of sweets last year.
But the name change won’t be a permanent fixture for the world No 3, who recently split from her new coach Jimmy Connors after just one match under his guidance.
Sharapova has gone to the Florida Supreme Court in a bid to temporarily change her name, but would still need the nod from organisers of the US Open, the final grand slam of the year, if she is going to be introduced as ‘Miss Sugarpova’ during the tournament.
If the tournament officials allow it, then it could see umpires calling ‘advantage Sugarpova’, and could even see the US Open trophy being permanently inscribed with ‘Maria Sugarpova’ if she wins the tournament.
The Sugarpova sweets come in flavours such as ‘flirty’, ‘quirky’ and ‘smitten’, and the former world No 3 has invested £300,000 in the brand.