Maria Sharapova and Nike set to split after 20-year partnership that made her world’s richest sportswoman

MARIA SHARAPOVA and Nike are set to split after a 20-year partnership that helped make her the richest sportswoman in the world.

Sharapova has told friends that she believes the sportswear giant will not renew her deal when it expires at the end of this year.

 Maria Sharapova is set to end her association with Nike

Reuters
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Maria Sharapova is set to end her association with Nike
 Maria Sharapova, pictured here winning Wimbledon aged 17 in 2004, has been with Nike since she was 11 years old

PA:Press Association
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Maria Sharapova, pictured here winning Wimbledon aged 17 in 2004, has been with Nike since she was 11 years old

The five-time Grand Slam champion, 31, signed with the American firm when she was only 11.

Sharapova’s Nike contract,, currently worth about £10m per year, is thought to be the biggest for any female athlete and has made her the best-paid woman in sport for much of her career.

Nike suspended their relationship when the Russian tested positive for banned drug meldonium in 2016.

But the firm returned to business as usual a few months later, though, after an anti-doping tribunal found that she had not intentionally broken the rules.

Sharapova eventually served a 15-month ban, returning to action in Stuttgart in April 2017.

 Maria Sharapova has earned around £10m a year from her deal with Nike

Getty Images – Getty
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Maria Sharapova has earned around £10m a year from her deal with Nike

Tennis star Maria Sharapova shows off her ball control before fitness session

But since then she has shown only flashes of the player she once was and has struggled for form and fitness.

Sources say Sharapova is hoping that Adidas will take her on – but they may not have much budget left after claims the German company is about to sign US Open winner Naomi Osaka.

Adidas are said to be offering Osaka the biggest deal they have ever given a female athlete – £6.5m per year.

MARIA SHARAPOVA and Nike are set to split after a 20-year partnership that helped make her the richest sportswoman in the world.