Jan 21st, 2005, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Sharapova's Sponsorships Leave Russian Rivals Lagging
Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova arrived for the Australian Open in Melbourne wearing free Nike Inc. shoes and a Tag Heuer watch provided by her sponsors. Svetlana Kuznetsova, her Russian colleague who won the U.S. Open, is still seeking a first major company to support her.
Sharapova's off-court earnings, which SportBusiness International magazine said will total at least $15 million this year, are 10 times more than those of Kuznetsova and French Open winner Anastasia Myskina. Part of Sharapova's advantage is that she's lived in Florida the past 10 years, according to Myskina's manager Mark Gandler.
``She's a Grand Slam winner and speaks very good English,'' Russia-born Gandler, 48, a founder of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey- based International Sports Advisors, said in a phone interview. ``And she's perceived as being an American.''
Sharapova is the only one of Russia's Grand Slam event winners last year to have cracked an endorsement market valued by the IEG Sponsorship Report at $30.4 billion. Since beating Serena Williams to become the third-youngest Wimbledon champion at age 17, she signed contracts with Nike, the largest athletic-shoe maker; Tag Heuer International SA, a unit of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA; Motorola Inc., the No. 2 maker of mobile phones; Canon Inc., the second-biggest seller of digital cameras, and perfume maker Parlux Fragrances Inc.
She appeared on NBC's ``Tonight Show'' with Jay Leno and CBS's ``Inside Edition,'' and was the first tennis player in more than two years to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Sharapova has flourished off court as much as Williams. The 23-year-old American makes about $15 million a year in agreements with Nike Inc., Wilson Sporting Goods Co., McDonald's Corp., and Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., her agent Jill Smoller said.
Max Eisenbud, Sharapova's agent, declined an interview request.
Russian players dominated women's tennis last year, winning three of the four Grand Slams and taking four of the top six world ranking positions. Sharapova, No. 4, led the circuit with more than $2.5 million in prize money, and third-ranked Myskina helped Russia to an inaugural win in the Federation Cup, the sport's most prestigious women's team event.
Seven-time WTA Tour winner Sharapova took 50 minutes to beat China's Na Li today and advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time. She's the second favorite behind Serena Williams at Australia's Centrebet to win the year's first Grand Slam. Kuznetsova also reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time today, while Myskina was a quarterfinalist the past two years.
Sharapova isn't the first Russian player to earn millions from sponsors. Anna Kournikova, 23, used to make more from endorsements than any other female athlete, according to Chicago- based Burns Sports & Celebrities, even though she never won a title on the women's elite tour. She last played a professional tournament in May 2003.
Today's Russian players trail Sharapova's success in winning endorsements partly because Russian companies are now more interested in soccer, Lawrence Frankopan, 27, who manages Kuznetsova, said in a phone interview. OAO Sibneft, the country's fifth-largest oil producer, has a three-year contract worth $54 million with CSKA Moscow.
``It's difficult to target anyone with money in Russia,'' Frankopan said. ``The big companies, like oil firms, aren't what you normally associate with tennis, and there are no carmakers, fashion houses or telecommunication giants.''
Further, Russian companies don't need as much publicity as they did immediately after the fall of communism in 1991, Shamil Tarpischev, the president of the Russian Tennis Association, said in an interview.
``The situation is worse that it was five or 10 years ago,'' said Tarpischev, also captain of Russia's Fed Cup team. ``When they were just starting out, they needed the publicity, now they're up and running, they don't need it.''
The Russian domination of women's tennis in 2004 began when Myskina beat countrywoman Elena Dementieva to win the French Open. Since then, the 23-year-old Myskina has tried and failed to get endorsements from Russian companies, Gandler said. Her sole agreement since winning in Paris is a one-year contract with fruit-juice maker Tropicana Inc., a unit of PepsiCo Inc.
Russian companies prefer to hire show business celebrities because they're cheaper, said Dementieva's agent, Maya Belyaeva.
Dementieva, who speaks English, French and Russian, signed a one-year contract with Samsung Corp., the fourth-biggest seller of cellular phones in the U.S., at the end of 2003 that's being extended to this year, Belyaeva said. She declined to give terms of the deal.
Kuznetsova, a 19-year-old who trains in Spain, is still seeking her first major sponsorship, Frankopan said. Winning the U.S. Open hasn't helped so far, probably because Russian women have been so dominant, he said.
``Because three Russians won Grand Slams last year, it's somewhat diluted their uniqueness and marketability,'' he said.
I wonder why they don't mention THE most obvious reason Masha gets more sponsorship- because she's beautiful!
Apr 6th, 2005, 11:50 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Thanks a lot GL
Maria Sharapova: Right after tournament in Miami I have consulted with my dad, the doctor and the trainer, and we came to a conclusion, that physically I am not ready to play for the combined team this year. It appears, for the present season I have already played 25 matches: it is 10 more, than one year ago. But I feel it and without any rest. If I now should fly to prepare for clay courts, I simply physically could not make it. My body is not ready. I should have a rest.
News: who all the same has made the decision? And who in the greater degree has affected it?
Sharapova: It was the command decision. Basically - my dad and the doctor. And I - I feel court. After tournament in Miami I feel very much tired. I in fact all the same have lost not in the fourth round, not in a semifinal, and in the final.
News: And sponsors, agents?
Sharapova: No, my life is controlled only by me and people close to me. Health now the question is mine and the sports form. Sponsors and business here at anything.
News: Why was required to time for meditations so much? In fact the invitation has come to combined team for a long time...
Sharapova: In the beginning of year we did not know, how many I shall play matches as myself I shall feel. Nobody likes to lose in the third - fourth rounds but then at least you have time to be restored. And when each time you reach a final - semifinal... Week after a week... To me of 17 years, and I understood, that my body is not ready for such big loading.
News: what exactly disturbs you?
Sharapova: Since December ive had 3 MRI's. It seemed to me, that there was a microtrauma of a wrist - after championship WTA of the last year. But problems were from loading and from heavy balls, the tomography has revealed nothing. (phew..) All has passed with rest and exercises on strengthening. Then something happened with my back, began in Australia, I played there through a pain. I do not like to complain and search for an excuse. Simply last three months were gave out heavy. There was no time to sit and продышаться, to take care of itself.
News: And what doctors speak?
Sharapova: That all will be in the order, it is necessary to give my body rest simply. Sometimes shake their head, looking at me, do not understand, how I can play tennis. My doctor Anatoly Glebov speaks, that at me a muscle insufficiently strong supposedly I can not also five kgs on each hand to lift.
News: What program for April?
Sharapova: Недельку отдохну, and then I shall start to work on clay court, to strengthen that requires strengthening. I shall miss tournaments in Amelia and the Charleston, next time I shall play only in Berlin in the beginning of May.
News: the Decision concerning combined team is accepted only on the first round of the Fed Cup or for all season?
Sharapova: For all season. It seems to me, it will be dishonest in relation to a team if I shall not play the first round, and then suddenly times - and has wanted. Girls will be played, will win the permit in a semifinal, the final - and here I leave?
News: Time speech has gone about a team... The Former conflicts about which so the press much wrote, have somehow affected your decision?
Sharapova: As I have told, a principal cause - my physical condition. Certainly, I would like and it is insulting, when there were conversations about my dad, especially after I have successfully acted in championship WТА. And when the trainer of combined team frankly was ill(sick) against me in Los Angeles... I at all do not know. Unless so it is possible, when play two Russians? But I try to throw out such things from a head. Now for me the most important - to be prepared for a long season and when will come it is time to play for combined team, I hope, all will be in the past.
News: And when this will come is time? With what you see the following steps in dialogue with Federation of tennis of Russia?
Sharapova: I think, at the end of this season it will be possible to discuss plans for 2006.
News: Masha, all of you speak time " when I shall play for combined team of Russia " as though it by itself азумеющийся the fact, and we should be typed(collected) only patiences. And meanwhile hearings go, that to you the USA suggest to support combined team, to change citizenship. Whether because of it postpone the debut in the Cup of federation?
Sharapova: No. It is delirium. To me anything such did not offer, but even if would suggest, I shall play only for Russia, instead of for America.
News: What, except for the passport, allows you to count itself the Russian?
Sharapova: I was born in Russia... At me still there the big family... Unless I should explain it? And unless it is possible to explain it? It should be felt simply. I know, that at me blood Russian. Near to Americans first of all I feel myself Russian.
News: In what language your dreams?
Sharapova: I at all do not know... But I think usually in Russian.
News: And it is necessary to speak more...
Sharapova: If I at home or in hotel with mum, always in Russian. And on court - my trainer understands only in English...
News: you count yourselves the leader of the Russian tennis?
Sharapova: (for an instant falters) the Leader of the Russian tennis?.. While, apparently, yes. I the third in the world. And on court I feel each time, that I present Russia. And on Olympiad - 2008 I shall support Russia.
News: you are really personally familiar with Vladimir Putin?
Sharapova: Only in absentia. He calls to me, congratulates on victories. All bells - on five, it is no more minutes. Each time speaks, that for me wait in Moscow, that warmly will accept. Good, kind words.
News: And when for you to wait in Moscow?
Sharapova: On the Cup of the Kremlin this year I shall come necessarily.
Apr 9th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The 2nd Lowest Landmass..
Maria Sharapova - A combination of fire and ice
By LINDA ROBERTSON
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - Maria Sharapova, 17 and as innocent as a beautiful, magnetic, rich, teenaged tennis and corporate superstar can be, did not hesitate for a second to open up her big pink purse when she was asked what was inside.
``I don't have a Chihuahua yet, but I have my cellphone, my iPod, a John Grisham book, sunscreen if anyone needs some, and I have a Sharpie,'' she said Thursday, holding up each item.
``No dog, but maybe soon,'' she said, laughing like a girl without a care in the world.
Don't let her fool you. There are two faces of Maria. The smooth and smiling one, photographed by Vogue and coveted by Canon, Motorola and Tag Heuer, the one that has launched 100 websites. Or the fierce and furrowed one, the one that lets out shrieks and grunts that would make Linda Blair blush.
Sharapova will share her sunscreen with you off the court, but on it, she will burn you. In a NASDAQ-100 Open semifinal, Venus Williams felt the blows of Sharapova - a fighter in a pink dress. Williams finally caved, after six break points, to a slender kid who is as relentless as the Siberian winter.
Sharapova grew up in Florida, in the sheltered and programmed world of Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy, but she has the ice of her native Nyagan, Russia, in her veins.
Against Williams, she refused to yield a single service break in a ruggedly efficient 6-4, 6-3 victory. She kept Williams scrambling from corner to corner, denying Williams an opening to attack as she did so well Tuesday against her sister, Serena. Williams said she felt inexplicably tired after a day off, which led to an abundance of errors, her usual bugaboo. She managed a mini-rally when Sharapova served for the match leading 5-3, but fell behind 0-40. Williams had a turning point in her grip, but Sharapova yanked it away, screeching back to deuce and neutralizing three more break points with crosscourt groundstrokes. She pounded her thighs, clenched her fists. The resolve was palpable. There was no way she would let Williams break her serve.
WILL TO SUCCEED
Sharapova transferred that will into her shots as Williams wilted. After two Williams forehands thudded long, Sharapova was the winner. She fell to her hands and knees and slapped the court. Eight months after her Wimbledon breakthrough, she's in the final of tennis' ``fifth major.''
``I wanted to do my best and just fight till the end,'' Sharapova said.
Women's tennis has hit the jackpot. It has an enchanting pit bull as its new star. Forget the Anna Kournikova comparisons. Sharapova is a champion.
Her story isn't quite the fairy tale of the Williams sisters, who went from Compton, Calif., to Centre Court. But it is inspiring. Sharapova and father Yuri left Russia when she was 7, with a borrowed $700, and took a bus from Miami to Bollettieri's place, where Yuri worked odd jobs until he had enough money to bring wife Yelena over.
Sharapova was groomed for greatness. Her team at IMG has carefully cultivated her image and portfolio. Her endorsements total $20 million, making her the highest-paid female athlete in the world. She has a perfume called Maria coming out in September. But she fights off those distractions as she does opponents, going to the place that is her sanctuary and stage.
``I've always been really, really happy on the court. When I'm on the court, everything around me goes away,'' she said. ``All my worries, all my things that I do off the court - they go away.''
What a feeling that must be.
DESIRE AT ANY AGE
On Thursday, it was interesting to see the contrast between quarterfinal winner Andre Agassi, at 34 as intense as he was at 24, and Williams, 24 and struggling from match to match to rediscover the fire and joy she had at Sharapova's age. So much in sports is determined by talent, but just as much hinges on desire.
Williams described her busy life as ``unpredictable,'' because ``people are always calling, `Can you do this?' `Can you do that?' `Please come here.' `Please come there.' `Do this.' `Do that.' Things come up like you wouldn't believe.''
Sharapova feels the same tugs, but isn't really tempted by them. Not yet. At 17, her drive is still fresh and has to be fed rather than coaxed.
``I think that's what motivates me, is when I have five days off and I'm doing shoots or I'm doing whatever I am for my sponsors, I'm really hungry to get back on the court, because that's where I feel, `This is what I do, this is my joy and I love it,' '' she said.
How long can she sustain that will to win? It's a question that has dangled over so many tennis starlets. Now it's Sharapova's turn to find out.
:: maria SHARAPOVA
Ana Ivanovic Kind, Beautiful and a all-around awesome girl !
I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
- Nikola Tesla
Apr 17th, 2005, 12:29 PM
| Team WTAworld
Join Date: Mar 2004
April 17, 2005 -- Last week, in a blowout party sponsored by Motorola and attended by 660 of her close personal friends, tennis star Maria Sharapova - who has more than $20 million in endorsements - celebrated her coming-of-age. The golden girl finally turns 18 on Tuesday. We caught up with Sharapova before her big soiree to find out what, exactly, makes one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world tick - and what her charmed teenage life is really like.
id you know from the moment you first picked up a racquet that tennis would be your thing?
A:I was just very competitive when I was younger. When I first picked up a tennis racquet, people - including Martina Navratilova - saw that, and they told my parents that I had a lot of talent. I think that tennis really brought out the competitive spirit in me and, after I began training, my talent picked up from there. If I weren't playing tennis, I probably wouldn't be playing any other sport. I guess you could say that tennis is the great love of my life right now.
o you remember much about arriving in the United States from Russia to train at Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy?
A:I don't remember a lot, but I do remember coming to America and training a lot in Florida. I didn't see my mom for the first two years, because she was still in Russia.
Q:I read that you were bullied a lot by other students.
A:The other girls at the tennis academy were a lot older than me and, obviously, had different interests than I did at that age. I just didn't pay attention to it. I guess you could say I was pretty tough from the beginning. I was like, "Whatever." I remember being a big fan of Pippi Longstocking. She did whatever she wanted to do, and she just had a lot of fun with her life, even when things seemed really bad. She would always try to make things better. After my mother came over, when I was 9, I moved out of the dorms.
Q:Everyone who interviews you writes "Maria is all about tennis." What are some of your other interests?
A:Tennis is my No.1 priority, as always. But I'm very interested in fashion. That's something I'd love to pursue after my tennis career - I want to be a fashion designer and I want to have my own line. I've always been crazy for style and fashion. Ever since I was young, I've always wanted to look really cool.
Q:Who's your favorite designer?
A:I love Marc Jacobs. His clothes are so girly, but very classy at the same time. Wearing his clothes make you feel like a princess - and so cute! I haven't had the chance to meet him yet. Even though I've been invited to many of his shows, my tennis schedule always conflicts.
Q:What do you do in your free time?
A:I go shopping a lot - I like to call it retail therapy. New York has got to be one of the best shopping cities in the world. These days, I'm really into boutiques. I also love shopping in Japan because you can find different, unique pieces that no one else will have. The sizes are different there, so I can never buy shoes, but I love buying really cropped jackets - they're really cute over jeans.
Q:You must have so many clothes! What do you pack when you travel?
A:Traveling is really hard, because you can't take more than two suitcases with you. What I pack depends on where I go. But my must-have item this season is definitely my pair of Giuseppe Zanotti cowboy boots.
Q:What about school?
A:I'm enrolled in high school on the Internet - Keystone National High School. My favorite subject is biology, but I'm terrible at math. I really respect people who can do math, because I absolutely suck at it. English is really hard, but I do like literature a lot. I've also done a lot of electives - like art, music, sociology and health.
o you ever feel like you're missing out?
A:I've never really had the experience of being in a school environment, so it's hard to say that I miss something I never knew.
Q:How do you meet people your age?
A:I travel a lot and it's not easy to make friends now. I tend to stick with the close friends and family that I had before I was famous and popular, because I know that they like me for who I am.
Q:How does your fame affect your everyday life?
A:I usually have a bodyguard during tournament events, but on an everyday basis I just go out with my friends. It's not that bad yet.
Q:You were in the March issue of Vogue. What was that like?
A:It turned out to be a really cool shoot. It was a really rainy day in Los Angeles and we shot a bunch of different outfits, but they chose to run the picture of the green Prada dress and the Alexander McQueen shoes. I was looking out the window and the look was really natural.
Q:What kind of advice can you give to other teenage girls?
A:In your teens, you go through a lot of weird moments when you might not feel secure and might feel like everything's wrong in your life. Even though I've never felt really insecure, but there are times when I'm having a bad day, when nothing's going my way, and I'm like, "When's this going to end?" You just have to stay positive.
Q:How do you relax and cheer yourself up on your days off?
A:Usually through some retail therapy!
o you have anything new coming up?
A:My new perfume is launching in September. It's called Maria by Maria Sharapova. It's been one of the most fun processes of all - I designed the whole thing, from the bottle to the packaging to the scent. It's a light, floral, everyday fragrance. I wanted to make sure it was long-lasting. It's not something you smell and then want to step away from. And I have a new video game coming out - I-play Maria Sharapova Tennis.
Q:Tell us one surprising thing about yourself.
A:I'm naturally a lefty but I play right-handed tennis. I kick and throw with my left hand. I used to write with my left hand when I was younger, but now I write with my right.
Height: 6 feet
Favorite food: chocolate souffl‚
Favorite TV show: "The OC," "24"
Favorite Perfume: Gucci 2 Rush, Marc Jacobs
Favorite Movies: "Mona Lisa Smile," "Something's Gotta Give"
Favorite Colors: Pink, Orange
Dream dinner companion: Gwyneth Paltrow - "I've always found her to be very elegant. She has her own sense of style and she's not trying to be anyone else. She's always classy in her own way." - and Gisele Bundchen - "She has a great personality and a great body."
What's on your iPod? I've been listening to Maroon 5 for the last few weeks.
My Favourite Players
1. Maria Sharapova
2. Daniela Hantuchova
3. Maria Kirilenko
Удачи тебе, Мария Шарапова!
The Don of the Maria Mafia
1904..Eternal follower of the Golden Girl
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