No name switch for Sharapova
Maria Sharapova has decided not to change her name to Sugarpova for the US Open next week, after giving what her agent calls "serious consideration" to the move.
The Times reported that the tennis player was set to change her name to advertise her range of sweets for the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, but her agent Max Eisenbud told ESPN on Tuesday that "we ultimately decided against it".
"Maria has pushed her team to do fun, out-of-the-box-type things to get the word out about Sugarpova," Eisenbud said. "In Miami, we're going to fill a glass truck full of candy and drive it around town. This was an idea that fell along those lines. But, 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."
In order to change her name, Sharapova - who is a Russian citizen but has a green card and resides in Florida - would have had to file a name change petition in the state, submit fingerprints, have a background check and have a hearing before a judge. If the judge signed an order, the name change would be official.
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Sugarpova, a premium line of gummy sweets and chewing gum, has caught on quickly since she introduced it last year. In its first year, the company sold 1.8 million bags of its sweets around the world in North America, Europe and Asia with planned launches in South America later this year.
Sharapova was rated the highest-earning female athlete in the world by Forbes magazine earlier this month with an estimated income of US$29 million in the year ending June 2013.
The range of sweets has been condemned for its very high sugar content. It is reported she has plans to expand the brand to include cosmetics, fashion and other accessories.
Last week she fired her new coach Jimmy Connors after just one match telling journalists: "It's not the right fit for this time in my career."
Or perhaps he just wanted her to concentrate on tennis not gimmickry.