The glass is not always half-full for Maria Sharapova. No, rather, the glass is brimming. Her cup overfloweth. Beyond the shrieks and the strafing backhands, beyond the photo shoots and red-carpet dresses, there is a shrewd, enterprising young woman who plays the world at large, just as a dog owner feeds a pup from her hand.
Yes, Sharapova notched a double-bagel in the first round of this Australian Open. And yes, she did that in her opening match at the 2012 French Open (which she won), and also at the 2010 U.S. Open. There, in New York City that Labor Day weekend, I heard her say to a media handler in the hallway—to a young woman who asked, "Couldn't you just give her a game?"—"That's not my style." It was the perfect response, entirely Sharapovian, and beyond the seeming ruthlessness of it, it just flat-out made sense. What opponent would want to be gifted a game in the first place? That would be more humiliating, perhaps, than the double-bagel showing itself.
Well, time has passed, and Sharapova has a full arsenal of marketing mechanisms at work now: She joined Twitter today, which was rumored to be coming this month and expected during the Aussie Open, naturally. She unveiled her Aussie Open dress, already being the designer of the top-selling Cole Haan shoe, a ballet flat bearing her name. And she also has been rolling out Sugarpova events Down Under, a foray that brings us to what may be her latest foible—or, really, her only foible in the past few years.
But Sharapova has been challenged recently, notably highlighted in a UK Daily Mail piece, about marketing her not-good-for-you candy to children and young women. These sweets—and the campaign for them—are said to be harmful to kids, with "an average of 84g [grams] of sugar per bag—the equivalent of 21 teaspoons or two cans of Coca-Cola." Furthermore, the article says, Sharapova "has been criticised for the 'inappropriate' launch of a 'playful' and 'flirty' junk food line."
What do you think? Is Sharapova behaving badly, or is Sugarpova innocuous enough that parents and children should know full well what they're dipping into when they open a bag?
Whatever your stance, brace now for a flurry of all sorts of responses to Sharapova's brand-new Twitter presence.
—Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9)