Maria Sharapova to become ‘Sugarpova’ for US Open

Maria Sharapova is in a race to try and change her name to “Sugarpova” ahead of this month’s US Open in an attempt to raise the profile of her fledgling candy range.

Maria Sharapova is hoping the temporary name change to Sugarpova will raise the profile of her fledgling brand.

The tennis ace has reportedly approached the Florida Supreme Court about a temporary name change. The 26-year-old, who will also sport the “Sugarpova” brand’s logo on her Nike-sponsored kit during the tournament, is hoping to use the American Grand Slam to generate buzz for the confectionery range ahead of plans to expand to clothing and cosmetics.

The tennis ace launched the brand in the US and has since introduced it to other markets including the UK. Sharapova launched a marketing push earlier this year ahead of the Wimbledon tennis championship that saw her offer Twitter followers exclusive discounts on the sweets and take part in a string of PR initiatives.

Sharapova, who is sponsored by brands including Porsche, Evian and Samsung, was recently rated the highest-earning female athlete in the world by Forbes with total career earnings of $26m (£17m). She is also rated by the business magazine as the 22nd highest paid athlete in the world.

Sharapova is the latest athlete to look to change their name for commercial gain. In 2005, Snooker veteran Jimmy White changed his name to Jimmy Brown as part of a sponsorship deal with HP Sauce. Elsewhere, Paddy Power has changed the names of Farnborough FC players to famous footballers such as David Beckham and Pele after agreeing to sponsor the Conference South side earlier this year.