21st December, 2010
Former Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova, ended her 10-year sponsorship agreement with racket manufacturer Prince Sports Inc., both parties said.
â€œSharapovaâ€™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,â€Â Prince and Sharapova said in an e-mailed statement.
Max Eisenbud, the Russianâ€™s agent at IMG, declined to comment on which racket sheâ€™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 AustralianÂ Open, were won with a Prince racket.
Gordon Boggis, chief executive of Bordentown, New Jersey- based Prince Sports, thanked the former world No. 1 for being a â€œgreat partner.â€ As the partnershipÂ is wound down, Prince will continue to have the rights to market and sell Maria Sharapova signature-line products throughout 2011, the statement said.
â€œI have thoroughly enjoyed my partnership with Prince,â€ Sharapova said in the statement. â€œTheir rackets helped me to three great slam victories and muchÂ more. I will always retain nothing but the highest admiration for Prince.â€
Sharapova is the worldâ€™s highest-paid female athlete, with annual earnings from endorsements and prize money of $24.5 million, according to an estimate byÂ Forbes magazine in August.