Maria Takes Manhattan
While Maria Sharapova will be looking to win her first U.S. Open when she returns to New York in late August, she's certainly no stranger to Manhattan. She's made dozens of appearances in the Big Apple since winning Wimbledon in 2004 and becoming a major attraction, including this one on "Live with Regis and Kelly."
Maria cuddles up to a simian friend backstage at "Live with Regis and Kelly."
Sharapova's whirlwind summer '04 tour of New York City also included a stop by the "Today" show, where she chatted with Matt Lauer about her Wimbledon victory.
Where does any teenage celebrity with screaming, adoring fans go? "Total Request Live," of course. Sharapova stopped by MTV's Times Square studios in July '04 to put in some TRL face time -- and to play a little Ping-Pong, too.
Maybe it was too much hype. Whatever the case, Sharapova couldn't replicate her breakout success in her second appearance in Queens, the '04 U.S. Open. After seizing an early lead, she was upset by 27th seed Mary Pierce in the third round.
By 2005, the Maria marketing machine was in full effect. Sharapova was back in New York often to endorse products, hit the hottest parties and provide gossip fodder for the tabloids. In August she launched her new self-named perfume just before the U.S. Open.
Sharapova had put together a string of inspiring tennis heading into the '05 U.S. Open, winning three tournaments, reaching the semis in her Wimbledon encore and briefly holding the No. 1 WTA ranking. She was tabbed a favorite in Queens but was beaten by eventual champion Kim Clijsters in a three-set thriller in the semis.
The leggy, blonde Russian made an easy transition to the fashion world, as designers clamored to get their latest into her closet. Sharapova was a fixture at Fashion Week in fall of '05. Here she checks out the latest Marc Jacobs collection.
Perhaps it was inevitable that the beautiful Sharapova would find her way into the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She garnered loads of attention at the official unveiling party at Manhattan hotspot Crobar last February.
Always in demand from sponsors and fans alike, Maria stopped by Macy's in Manhattan's Herald Square last April to model a new TAG Heuer watch and sign autographs. Sharapova will earn more than $23 million in endorsements and appearances fees in 2006.