The All England Lawn Tennis Club prides itself on its sponsor-free stands. But sponsors such as Rolex, Robinsons, Evian and others still manage to get themselves noticed on court, via sponsored scoreboards and fridges. As do the banks and sportswear brands paying to be on players’ kits.
But it’s not just financial-services and sportswear firms that the players are shilling. The most financially adept pros have their own brands to flog. Previously this may have involved tennis gear, such as rackets or the glamorous Pete Sampras Vibration Dampener, but savvier pros – especially at the top of the women’s tour – are branching out.
Maria Sharapova has her own range of sweets called – wait for it – Sugarpova. The Russian world No 3 launched the candies at Selfridges in London last week. There are 15 flavours, all costing £3.99 a bag, including a sporty flavour of lemon and lime gumballs which look like tennis balls. “Everyone would have expected me to do something like clothes or accessories or perfume,” Sharapova told The New York Times. “But I thought this was an amazing opportunity to do something unexpected.” Hmm.
Elsewhere in SW19 this week, expect world No 9 Caroline Wozniacki to be boosting her This Is Me line of underwear, which she launched last autumn with an announcement about the fibres used in it. Of course, the pictures of Wozniacki in her pants made sure the launch gained some attention in the media. Pleasingly, she also has her own line of Compeed blister patches. The packaging of which has her showing her foot in a high-heeled shoe on court. Which may explain the blisters.