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Sharapova agent rejects reports that Nike 'set to end 20-year partnership'

Sharapova agent rejects reports that Nike 'set to end 20-year partnership'
The agent for tennis star Maria Sharapova has dismissed claims by a UK newspaper that sportswear giant Nike is planning to end its 20-year partnership with the player.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to include the rejection from Maria Sharapova's agent of the initial Sun newspaper report. 

UK paper The Sun reported on Sunday that the five-time Grand Slam champion, 31, does not expect her current deal to be renewed when it expires this year.

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Sharapova has been with Nike since she was just 11 years old, and her current deal, signed in 2010, is said to be worth $10 million annually – reportedly the largest of any female athlete.

The lucrative association with Nike has helped Sharapova consistently top the charts as sport’s highest-paid woman, including for 11 straight years up to 2016.

Neither Nike nor Sharapova have officially commented on the reports, although the player's agent, Max Eisenbud, has told the tennis.life website that they are "fake news" and that the player has a lifetime deal with Nike.  

Sharapova failed a doping test for meldonium in 2016 that led to Nike temporarily suspending its relationship with the Russian star, although cooperation resumed within a few months.

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Sharapova currently sits 29th in the WTA rankings, and last won a Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2014.

The US-based player has an estimated worth of up to $195 million, including through her Sugarpova confectionary range and sponsorship with brands such as Porsche and Evian. 

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