Maria Sharapova: Russian tennis star Jul 26, 2014 21:13:30 GMT
Post by Admin on Jul 26, 2014 21:13:30 GMT
When Maria Sharapova takes to the courts of Wimbledon, she does not smile. She chases balls with the aggression of a Doberman Pinscher, grunts like a hyena in heat, and blasts rocket-like serves at her opponents. During intense matches she’s pure terror—a leggy, blonde monster ready to obliterate the person on the other side of the net.
But on the evening of June 18, the Wednesday before the start of Wimbledon, she’s more beauty than beast as she sits inside the Sugarpova Candy Lounge—a pop-up shop in Wimbledon village promoting her eponymous line of gummy bears, gumballs and soft chews. Sharapova wears a white V-neck t-shirt with a plunging neckline; the Sugarpova logo—a pair of cherry red, puckered lips—sits just south of her breasts. She’s fielding questions from Laura Robson, an injured British tennis player who is reporting on Wimbledon for the BBC.
“What made you go into sweets?” Robson asks. “When I was a little girl I loved sweets, whether it was a little piece of candy or a lollipop that I got after practice or an English lesson,” Sharapova says. “Two years ago it just hit me: ‘Why not do something with candy and create a business of my own?’” Robson suggests that gorging on liquorice-flavoured rainbow swirls with a marshmallow center may not fit with Sharapova’s training regimen.
But Sharapova, seven years Robson’s senior and ranked 86 places above her, simply laughs. She navigates the conversation back to her core message: she is a hands-on businesswoman. “I’ve visited the factory,” she says. “It was a cool experience seeing how it was made. It’s pretty much a colorful rainbow liquid that is turned into a liquorice or gummy bear.”
The players smile at each other. The conversation winds through a series of banalities. We learn that Sharapova puts on her left shoe before her right. She has a pudgy, eight-year-old dog, who is currently in summer camp. She loved the Spice Girls when she was younger. Eventually Sharapova guides Robson—and the BBC camera crew—past racks of Sugarpova tank tops, available for £16. Meanwhile, children and grown men have lined up outside.
It’s fitting that the sound of cha-ching emanates from Sharapova’s candy shop on Wimbledon High Street. In 2004, ten years ago this week, Sharapova upset Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, catapulting Sharapova, then 17, onto the cover of Sports Illustrated and turning her into the world’s most marketable female athlete. Lucrative deals with Cole Haan, Evian, Honda, and Samsung followed, all capped off with a Nike deal that guaranteed her $70 million. The four Grand Slam titles that have followed have activated millions in bonuses.