Maria Sharapova’s failed drug test has flatlined many of her business partnerships however the tennis player's confectionary brand received a much needed boost with the news that it would launch a line of luxury chocolates.
Sharapova’s sweet brand, Sugarpova, will go ahead with plans to broaden its range of products after Baron Chocolatier, which is producing the high-end chocolates for the Russian star, robustly defended the 28 year-old.
Baron Chocolatier’s senior vice-president, Christopher Mattina, spoke to the Guardian and described Sharapova as “a woman of integrity” and said she served as “a role model for millions of people.”
Touching on Sharapova’s failed drug test at the Australian Open, Mattina said: “We think she made an honest mistake and she deserves credit for being open and direct about it.
“We hope she will be allowed to play tennis again but no matter what, we are proud to stand by Maria and to support her in this venture.”
The backing from the Baron Chocolatier will serve as a huge boost to the five-time grand slam winner’s confectionery business which previously only sold gummy sweets. Sharapova had anticipated that the partnership with the luxury chocolate brand would triple sales for the company when the line launched in May, shortly before the French Open.
Supergoop, a skin care brand which Sharapova co-owns with Holly Thaggard, also announced that it would stand by her. Thaggard said: “we value our relationship with her as a co-owner of Supergoop! and ambassador for our common cause of conquering the epidemic of skin cancer.
“We appreciate Maria’s candour and will continue to support her as the International Tennis Federation investigation unfolds.”
The two brands join Head in publically backing Sharapova following her public admission that she was unaware that the medication, which she claims to have taken for over a decade, contained the recently banned substance meldonium.
Her major sponsors in Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche all quickly distanced themselves from Sharapova while the investigation unfolds. Criticism in the media, as well as from fellow professional Andy Murray, led to Sharapova hitting back at some of the reports.