Her on-court credentials are well-known - former World No.1, the Career Grand Slam, 25 more WTA titles - but Maria Sharapova is also a world-beater off the court, and not just among her fellow WTA stars. With a variety of successful ventures, including a Nike apparel collection, a line at Cole Haan and, of course, the delicious Sugarpova candy line, the Russian is also a powerful businesswoman.
Sugarpova, a premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable and sweet side of the international tennis sensation, was launched in August 2012 and continues to grow and expand across the world.
"In the last year the awareness for the Sugarpova brand has grown tremendously," Sharapova said during a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. "We're available in so many different countries. We're now available online, so anyone around the world can purchase it and have it delivered to their home, no matter where they live. It has been such a unique process to see it grow and evolve."
And Sharapova hasn't let her on-court success suffer - she has actually maintained a Top 4 ranking on the WTA every single week since August 22, 2011, and her first half of 2013 was so strong that after missing almost all of the second half due to a shoulder injury, she still finished the year at No.4.
"I think I've done a really good job of balancing my professionalism on the court with expanding into other things off the court, and keeping my mind creative and working," Sharapova said. "I never had a typical education. I learned through other things - business and advertising, working with brands and people who are extremely talented in what they do. That's why I wanted to start something on my own."