Maria Sharapova reveals she signed her first endorsement deal with Nike when she was just 11 years old. At the time, Nike didn't have a junior collection so Sharapova was getting sizes made for adults. Luckily, her mother found a way to adjust the size so Sharapova was able to wear Nike clothes.
"I mean it was a very small contract and I was still, I was still a junior, Nike signed me. And I was about 11 years old, which is pretty crazy to look back. But at the time it wasn't much of a contract," Sharapova said on The CMO Podcast, per Sportskeeda.
"It was just free clothes and clothing that I would just float in because it was so large for me, they didn't have a junior collection at the time, so I would roll everything up and my mom would stitch it and cut it and it all together, make it into my size."
Sharapova on getting an improved contract
A few years later, Sharapova got an even better contract for Nike. "And then a couple of years after, I think, I had maybe a 25 or $50,000 contract which, you know, at that time was a lot of money.
It, you know, supported a bit of travel, you know, with the investment that a tennis player has to make and in terms of equipment and practices and, you know, travel expenses for you and my father," Sharapova added. Sharapova, a former five-time Grand Slam champion, enjoyed a very successful career.
After winning a Grand Slam and becoming the world No. 1 as a teenager, Sharapova quickly became one of the most marketable tennis players. In the end, Sharapova became one of the most marketable players in tennis history.
In this aspect, Great Britain's Emma Raducanu resembles Sharapova. Since winning the US Open as a teenager, 19-year-old Raducanu has landed several lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals.