WTA Tour

Sharapova won't sweeten name

Maria Sharapova (Twitter)
Maria Sharapova (Twitter)

New York - World number three Maria Sharapova has rolled back on her publicity effort to promote the one-year anniversary of her "Sugarpova" sweets line, which would have involved legally changing her name for the up-coming US Open to Maria Sugarpova.

The wild scheme evidently met a bureaucratic fate, according to her handlers.

Sharapova agent Max Eisenbud told ESPN that his client would not be going ahead with the project after the team realised that she might not have time to change it back in time to play September events in Asia.

With her passport reading "Sharapova" the immigration hurdles might just be too high even for the world's highest-paid sportswoman to clear.

"At the end of the day we would have to change all her identification -she has to travel to Japan and China right after the tournament, and it was going to be very difficult," admitted Eisenbud, who also handles China's French Open champion Li Na and has just added Briton Laura Robson to his stable of clients.

While the name-chage lark is no longer on, the promotion of the brand goes on, with marketing opportunities for the 15 types of sweets abounding at the Open.

At the least, the name-swap got some free publicity, with tweets mentioning "Sugarpova" totalling around 9 000 on Tuesday, a 50% jump according to social analytics company Topsy.com.

Meanwhile, Sharapova also needs to concentrate on her tennis as she bids for a fifth career grand slam title after losing in her opening match in Cincinnati - her only one played since an early Wimbledon loss and subsequent hip injury.

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