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Tennis stars: the real money makers

Candy, donkey milk cheese and tampons: how Maria, Novak and Serena really make the cash

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  • Left to right : M.K. Kim, Kia Motors Australia President and CEO; Rafael Nadal, Kia global brand ambassador anImage Credit:
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Tennis stars do not just bring in the money from their on-court activities. The real money is in their endeavours off the court: Roger Federer raked in $9.3 million (Dh34.15 million) by doing what he’s famous for — playing tennis, but made $45 million through his endorsement deals and lucrative exhibition fees. 
 tabloid! looks into some of the side projects that tennis players have indulged in over the years.



Maria Sharapova

The fierce competitor on court has a sweet and fun side to her, evident in her premium candy line, Sugarpova. The range is a reflection of the many facades of Sharapova with a tennis ball-shaped Sporty Sugarpova and a shoe and handbag line called Chic Sugarpova. That’s not all. Tiffany has an earrings collection called Tiffany for Maria Sharapova. She also has sponsorship deals with Gatorade and Tropicana and has her own clothing line, the Nike Maria Sharapova. She designs shoes and handbags for Cole Haan, with her ballerina flats being one of the company’s top sellers. In 2006, Sharapova posed alongside 25 supermodels for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.



Caroline Wozniacki

One of the tennis’ prettiest girls, she launched a leisure bodywear range last September. The collection, This is me, showed a more personal side to Wozniacki, who modelled the cotton-lycra line. She also has deals with Adidas, Yonex, Proactiv, Oriflame, Dubai Duty Free, Turkish Airlines, Rolex, Danske Bank, Sony Ericsson and E-boks. The tennis star is just like any one of us, she gets blisters too thereby lending her face to Compeed Blister Patches.


Serena Williams

She’s designed for Puma and Nike, lent her voice to The Simpsons, posed for the Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit Issue and is also the first professional tennis player to promote female hygiene products – Tampax Pearl tampons. And the list does not end here, this powerhouse on the court is also part owner of the American football team Miami Dolphins and author of Venus & Serena: Serving From The Hip: 10 Rules for Living, Loving and Winning. Her first book, On the Line, was released in 2009.


Venus Williams

The older Williams’ sister has carved out a nice little retirement nest for herself — she is the chief executive officer of V Starr Interiors, the company behind the set design of American talk show Tavis Smiley Show, and has her own fashion line, EleVen. She is a part owner of the American football team Miami Dolphins. Apart from the usual endorsement of a sports brand, in her case Reebok, Williams has also thrown her weight behind double stuffed Oreos.


Roger Federer

Fedex, as he is also known, is one of the greatest tennis stars of our time. The former world No 1 is riding on this popularity to rake in the money and has quite an impressive endorsement portfolio including Nike, Gillette, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and Lindt. His Nike deal is one of the biggest in sports and is reportedly worth $10 million annually with the sportswear giant designing a jacket with a crest for four tennis racquets for the star, a symbol of the four Wimbledon championships he won.


Rafael Nadal

One of the pretty boys in tennis, the Spaniard is the global ambassador for KIA, playing tennis with an alien in an advert. He is sponsored by Nike for his on-court clothing and shoes and has an endorsement agreement with Universal DVDs. In 2009, he was announced as the face of Lanvin’s L’Homme Sport. From 2010, Nadal was made the international ambassador of Quely, a company from his hometown, Majorca, that manufactures biscuits and chocolate-coated products. Not to fall behind, he also developed a wristwatch, valued at $525,000, with Richard Mille. Signalling a change in the hierarchy in sports, Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans replaced Christiano Ronaldo with Nadal as their new face — the first time a tennis player has landed the coveted role. Oh and yes, that was Nadal in Shakira’s video, Gypsy.


Novak Djokovic

What’s with these tennis stars and watch brands – the current world No 1 is the brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet and also has a deal with Mercedes-Benz. In an ode to the luxurious lives they lead, in March 2012, he was announced as the latest Learjet brand ambassador by Bombardier Aerospace — previous occupants of the post include John Travolta, architect Frank Gehry and classical pianist Lang Lang. Following Djokovic’s rise to the tennis stratosphere, his family founded a company called Family Sport — their initial focus was a restaurant business and has since expanded its portfolio to real estate, sport and sports apparel distribution. Make sure to check out Novak Café the next time you’re in Belgrade. The entire annual production of the world’s most expensive cheese made from donkeys’ milk has been bought by Djokovic in December. The reason for doing so, he wanted to ensure a reliable supply to his restaurant.


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