Maria Sharapova backed out of the US Open this week, but was well enough to participate in all the live marketing opportunities leading up to the tournament.
On Aug. 24, she was at Nike’s Street Tennis event, where she had a friendly rally and posed atop a taxi with Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and others in front of a crowd including Anna Wintour.
The tennis beauty also kicked off a pop-up shop for her Sugarpova candy line Aug. 25 at Bloomingdale’s, then on Wednesday took part in American Express’ “Rally on the River” before pulling out of the Open Sunday, a day before the start of the event.
AmEx recently announced a new, multiyear partnership with Sharapova and will have a virtual “You vs. Sharapova” game on-site at the Open. “Sharapova will be the face of American Express at the US Open this year,” the company announced.
Making the most of my NYC stay. In studio with @AmericanExpress. pic.twitter.com/hWsxiVZDhR
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) September 1, 2015
But virtual Sharapova will be the only one in Flushing after the real thing dropped out due to a lingering leg injury. “I have done everything possible to be ready, but it was just not enough time,” she said via Facebook on Sunday.
This year’s unprecedented promo blitz before the Open has also seen Nadal playing in his underwear for Tommy Hilfiger, and Williams singing karaoke for Delta.
Sharapova’s rep didn’t get back to us.
In 2013, before she also pulled out of the Open, Sharapova’s team said she would legally change her name to Sugarpova to promote her candy line, forcing announcers to call her by the brand name.
A tennis source at the time told us it was all a p.r. stunt and never serious, despite her agent’s denials.