From Maria Sharapova to Maria Sugarpova?
That's not a typo. The Russian-born tennis superstar says she considered temporarily changing her last name for the duration of the two-week U.S. Open to promote her line of snacks and sweets. But after careful consideration decided against the move, according to ESPN.
"Maria has pushed her team to do fun, out-of-the-box-type things to get the word out about Sugarpova," Max Eisenbud, Sugarpova, rather, Sharapova's agent, told ESPN. "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."
Of course, the publicity she's garnered from the non-story of her name change won't hurt her candy line either. As noted by Forbes, requesting a name change with the Florida Supreme Court costs virtually nothing -- and in this case, there wasn't even a request submitted.
Whether the name ploy will translate into sales remains to be seen. Sharapova launched her line of premium candies in 2012 investing $500,000 of her own money into the company. The gummy candies are available in countries in North America, Europe and Asia.
According to Forbes, Sharapova is the highest paid female athlete in the world -- earning $29 million this year, $23 million alone just from endorsements. Forbes says her career prize money of $26.7 million ranks third all-time behind both of the Williams sisters -- Venus and Serena.
It looks like would-be Maria Sugarpova won't be joining the likes of these famous athletes, who (some, infamously) changed their names:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Lew Alcindor) - basketball player
- Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.) - boxer
- Cameron F. Awesome (born Lenroy Thompson) - boxer
Bison Dele (born Brian Carson Williams) - basketball player
- World B. Free (born Lloyd Bernard Free) - basketball player
- Nenê (born Maybyner Rodney Hilário) - basektball player
- Chad Ochocinco (born Chad Javon Johnson) - football player
- JR Sakuragi (born Milton "J.R." Henderson) - basketball player
- Stylez G. White (born Gregory Alphonso White, Jr.) - football player
- Metta World Peace (born Ronald William Artest, Jr.) - basketball player