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Sharapova's millions
By Leo Schlink in London
July 05, 2004


MARIA Sharapova's breakthrough Wimbledon victory is likely to earn the one-time Siberian pauper $128 million.

The teenager, who left Russia at the age of seven with her father to further her career in Florida, will earn a fortune in commercial deals and advertising according to industry estimates.

Her father Yuri Sharapova, who travelled to Florida 10 years ago after leaving Chernobyl with life savings of $1200 in his pocket, will shield his striking daughter from many of the offers, but there is no shortage of suitors.

Celebrated as a marketeer's dream, the leggy blonde completed the ultimate rages to riches fairytale with a centre court straights sets victory over reigning champion Serena Williams on Saturday.

Already the top priority for the stalking pack of All England Club photographers, 17-year-old Sharapova is regarded as more photogenic than compatriot Anna Kournikova - and certainly far more successful.

Sponsored by Nike and Prince racquets, Sharapova will earn substantial bonuses with a rankings rise into the top 10.

Alun James, managing director of Hill and Knowlton, which is involved in the commercial sponsorship of tennis, believes Sharapova will become the wealthiest Russian tennis player in history.

"Kournikova was involved in a lot of commercial activities, she did a lot of advertising campaigns and it appeared that she had a lot of distractions outside tennis," he said.

Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing consultants GEM group, claims Sharapova has revived the faltering women's game.

"The future is very bright for her. She is like a breath of fresh air for the women's game," he said.

"Ultimately, Sharapova or any female athlete have to have the skill to play well. It's not just about being a pretty face but, given commercial realities, that does help."

Sharapova pocketed more than $2.5 million prizemoney for her maiden grand slam success, vindicating the foresight of Martina Navratilova.

"What I saw in Sharapova was not just in the way she played tennis," Navratilova said.

"It was there in the way she moved, in the way she walked and the way she would kick a ball or pick it up and throw it. You cannot teach that fluidity or that ease of movement."


Well deserved! :wavey:
 

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The CNN report is more accurate than all the press hype, which is supposedly based on "what she COULD earn in the next five years"

If Maria gleans 5 million out of this win, she will be doing very well. To make more, she has to keep winning, and become a major household name and face. She's had blanket publicity in the UK for the win, (where much of the population watches the wimbledon finals, and the papers give them BIG coverage) but I don't know about elsewhere.

And out of the 5 million, she will have staff costs, travel costs, agents fees, and whatever cut bollettieri gets. She won't be super-rich for a little while yet.
 
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