Expectantly, the media world exploded with stories about the downfall of former world number one. However, worth noticing was the way she carried herself through the controversy and confessed her 'mistake' face-to-face with the world.

Sharapova has always been a brand. Her marketing strategy has been designed so intricately that performance on court has made little or no difference to 'Brand Sharapova' over the years. Despite winning just two WTA titles in 2015 she was the highest paid sportswoman, earning USD 30 million mostly from advertising, according to American magazine Forbes. Her fortunes is estimated at USD 200 million.

Hailing from nuclear wasteland of Chernobyl, Maria's talent was the only motivating factor for her father to move to the US with borrowed 700 dollars, incapability of speaking English and dreams of seeing his daughter successful. Her first big victory came against supposedly invincible Serena Williams in 2004 Wimbledon final, just at age of 17. She became first woman tennis player from Russia to become world number one, a year later.

Blessed with conventional good looks and talent, Maria made an excellent plan to present herself as a sport icon who was perfect in every sense. Consequently, she soon became the face of world-known brands like Nike, Tag Heuer and Land Rover. Her image consciousness is evident from the way she decided the doping news to break in front of people. Before World Tennis Association could issue an official statement, she herself came to the fore and accepted that she has been taking doses of WADA banned drug Meldonium since 2006.

In her defence Maria added that the drug had been added to the banned list in 2015 itself and her only fault was that she did not go through it carefully and hence tested positive in tests. Sharapova's image has suffered a serious blow with Nike and Tag Heuer snapping ties the moment she shared her story of unknown illegality of Meldonium.

However, we are confident that Maria shall rise. She has never been a quitter and trust bankruptcy wouldn't stop this businesswoman from standing and robbing back everything which has been taken away from her. Expected to miss Wimbledon and French Open, we will hopefully get to see her back in action during Summer Olympics in Rio.

Sharapova's business empire dashes to ground following doping admission

Written by: Ira Shukla

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