The 31-year-old Russian has become quite the business mogul. Maria Sharapova graces the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine this month. The 31-year-old Russian has always been given credit for being one of the greatest tennis players of her generations, but now she is getting it for her tremendous work in building brands.





TA-DAHHH Look what’s out on newsstands today…my cover for @entrepreneur magazine. 🤗

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

In the article, Sharapova discusses her vision of Sugarpova candy as a growing brand in a growing industry.

“I’m not someone who goes into something without looking at charts and looking at how it’s distributed in the world and what the growth opportunities are,” Sharapova said. “I wanted to create a brand that people saw on shelves and didn’t eat on their way from the register and throw away before they got in the car. I wanted them to treat it as a souvenir, something they appreciated, something they wanted to share and show and gift.”

According to the article, Sharapova launched the brand with 500,000 of her own cash and it began to grow—before it hit a major speed bump when Sharapova was handed a drug ban for Meldonium usage in 2016.

Patrick Kenny, a marketing director who came on board after the launch, says they dealt with the challenge of Sharapova’s image head on.

Tecnifibre T-Fight

“We didn’t brand around it,” Kenny told Entrepreneur. “We branded right through it. Maria worked as hard as ever on bringing new products to market during that time period, and we touched base with all our customers and told them that we were going to continue to be successful and Maria was going to continue to be behind the brand. There was never space between us and Maria and our customers, and everybody stayed with the project.”

Sharapova was the highest-paid female athlete in the world for 11 years running until the scandal broke in 2016. Since then she has fallen off the Top 10 list. She has struggled to regain her tennis form as well, finishing the year at 29 in the world and earning just over $1.3 million in prize money.

Tennis Express

If her play has stagnated, her ability to run a business has not. Her portfolio currently includes Sugarpova as well as investments in Ultimate Fighting Championship, sunscreen maker Supergoop and an app called Charly that lets users message celebrities. Sharapova also has an upcoming partnership co-designing hotel gyms with architect Dan Meis, whose projects include the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Safeco Field in Seattle.