Sharapova Dumps Prince


Former Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova, ended her 10-year sponsorship agreement with racket manufacturer Prince Sports Inc., both parties said.

“Sharapova’s contract with Prince allowed the parties to mutually agree to end the relationship this year and Sharapova and Prince have decided to do so,”  Prince and Sharapova said in an e-mailed statement.

Max Eisenbud, the Russian’s agent at IMG, declined to comment on which racket she’ll use next. No reason was given for the end of the relationship.

Sharapova, 23, had been playing with a Prince racket since she was nine years old. All three of her major titles, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian  Open, were won with a Prince racket.

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Gordon Boggis, chief executive of Bordentown, New Jersey- based Prince Sports, thanked the former world No. 1 for being a “great partner.” As the partnership  is wound down, Prince will continue to have the rights to market and sell Maria Sharapova signature-line products throughout 2011, the statement said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my partnership with Prince,” Sharapova said in the statement. “Their rackets helped me to three great slam victories and much  more. I will always retain nothing but the highest admiration for Prince.”

Sharapova is the world’s highest-paid female athlete, with annual earnings from endorsements and prize money of $24.5 million, according to an estimate by  Forbes magazine in August.

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