Max Eisenbud, the person answerable for serving to the five-time main singles winner from Russia change into the top-paid feminine athlete for greater than a decade, thinks he has discovered one other participant with related potential: Amanda Anisimova.
Tall, blonde, of Russian descent and with a uncommon tennis expertise, Anisimova resembles Sharapova in additional methods than one.
“Clearly, there are similarities, it is laborious to go away from that,” Eisenbud, the top of IMG Tennis who has overseen the careers of gamers together with Sharapova and Li Na, China’s first grand slam singles champion, instructed CNN Sport
“I’m the agent, they’re each very engaging, they each have Russian roots, all that form of stuff. There are these similarities that may all the time be there. However they’re very completely different personalities.”
A star is born
Born in Freehold, New Jersey, to Russian-born mother and father, Anisimova moved to Miami along with her household on the age of three. In 2017, she received the US Open junior title, beating one other gifted teenager, fellow American Coco Gauff.
At Roland-Garros final 12 months, the then 17-year-old Anisimova dethroned defending champion Simona Halep of Romania to change into the primary participant born within the 2000s to succeed in a serious semifinal.
Though she would lose to the eventual champion, Ashleigh Barty of Australia, within the final 4, a star was born.
Anisimova’s run in Paris “actually caught lots of people’s consideration,” stated Eisenbud, who prolonged her settlement with clothes large Nike in November.
In January, Anisimova joined Serena Williams as the one different tennis participant to endorse American sports activities beverage maker Gatorade. She additionally lately signed a multi-year partnership with Therabody, a Los Angeles-based tech wellness firm whose percussive therapeutic massage remedy machine is broadly utilized by elite athletes the world over.
With each Nike and Gatorade trying to increase their feminine athlete roster, and Sharapova and Williams nearing the tip of their careers, the timing of Anisimova’s rise could not have come at a greater time, in response to Eisenbud.
Though he dismissed media stories in October suggesting the Nike deal was value $100 million, Eisenbud stated it was “in all probability one of many greatest clothes offers on the market.”
‘Model Maria Sharapova’
Sharapova was born in Russia however moved to the US on the age of eight. Ten years later, she turned a worldwide star when she beat Williams for the 2004 Wimbledon title.
The previous world No. 1 stop the game in February, having earned a complete of $325 million in endorsements, prize cash and appearances, in response to Forbes. That is second solely to her long-time adversary Williams, who has made greater than $350 million throughout her profession.
“Maria has been very profitable,” Anisimova instructed CNN Sport in March. “It is actually cool she has her personal sweet line and he or she has many thrilling issues for her now that she is retired, and she will return to these issues,” stated the younger American, whose tennis idols rising up had been Sharapova and Serena Williams.
“I’ve my very own manufacturers that I’ve signed with and I’m actually excited to supply some issues,” stated Anisimova, including she all the time runs enterprise choices previous her older sister, Maria Egee, a former tennis participant who has change into a profitable Wall Avenue banker. “Possibly I am going to create my very own traces or one thing I’m focused on. However I’ve my very own factor happening,” she added.
Creating “Model Maria Sharapova” is not a blueprint for advertising future stars reminiscent of Anisimova, Eisenbud stated.
“Definitely, I feel there’s not a cookie cutter; I do not assume possibly essentially what labored for Maria or Li Na will work for Amanda,” he stated.
“When Maria received in 2004, there was no social media, and now there’s. That is a giant distinction … The manufacturers need various things. It is all about what we’re doing on social.”
Anisimova’s presence on social media was one of many causes Therabody was eager to begin working with the 18-year-old.
“She is an up-and-comer, and we would like to have the ability to help her,” Dr. Jason Wersland, founder and chief wellness officer of Therabody, instructed CNN Sport. “She’s bought a giant upside in tennis. And that is not the one purpose that we selected to work along with her; it was this well-rounded method to issues.”
Looking for a method to assist him cope with debilitating ache following a motorbike accident in 2008, Wersland invented a percussive therapeutic massage remedy instrument known as Theragun, which makes use of frequency to alleviate sore muscle tissues.
The partnership is all about educating individuals in regards to the product and selling the model, which Anisimova, who has been utilizing Theragun for years, will do by means of her social media channels.
Wersland has been struck by Anisimova’s poise and maturity at such a younger age. “She’s bought such a cool power about her … She’s bought charisma. I actually take pleasure in her perspective.”
“She is simply actually all the way down to earth,” added Eisenbud. “That persona trait might be engaging to a whole lot of manufacturers … however I feel in the long run, she goes to be an actual massive winner, and types need to be related to that.”
Anisimova’s stand up the rankings was halted by tragedy in August, when she withdrew from the US Open shortly earlier than the beginning of the occasion following the sudden dying of her father and coach, Konstantin.
“It took somewhat little bit of time for me to benefit from the sport once more,” stated Anisimova, who did not play once more till January. “However I’m now lastly getting again into it. I’m doing it for myself and likewise for my dad.”
Though all skilled tennis has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game is about to renew in August.
Anisimova, who performed 4 occasions earlier than the pandemic struck, took just a few weeks off at first of lockdown earlier than resuming her coaching. She is scheduled to play an invitational charity occasion in Charleston, South Carolina, on the finish of this month.
Tennis insiders have little doubt the American teenager is the actual deal.
“She has unbelievable timing and each time she hits the ball, she hurts her opponent,” Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ long-time coach, instructed CNN Sport throughout final 12 months’s French Open.
“She will enhance lots in her motion and I am certain she’s going to. She is working laborious; she has good individuals round so she’ll be very harmful.”
Though Eisenbud held off on signing massive company offers till Sharapova had received a serious, he did not achieve this with Anisimova. But he is not involved in regards to the additional strain the endorsements could carry.
“She’s bought Russian blood, so I’m not too frightened about that. She’s fairly robust, and really pushed and really skilled,” he stated.