Maria Sharapova may have spent the last few months attempting to get her career back on track after more than a year away from the sport due to a doping ban. She performed well at the US Open, but had an up-and-down year thanks to persistent shoulder problems in addition to her time away from the professional circuit.
If she thought that was a blemish on her carer, this next development might take the lead in that particular race depending on how it shakes out.
According to an AFP report, Sharapova is under investigation by Indian police for “cheating and criminal conspiracy” in relation to a “luxury housing project” she endorsed outside of Delhi in 2012. Athletes endorse various business ventures all the time — that’s where most of their salaries actually come from — and it works out fine.
In this case though, Maria could be on the hook for the project’s failure and reported bilking of millions of dollars from homebuyers, as the lawyer on the case, Piyush Singh, says:
"Any celebrity who endorses any product technically becomes an agent for that company. No one would have invested in the project if Sharapova's name was not there.”
Details of the report say that Sharapova’s vision for the project was a luxury high-rise complex that included a tennis academy (not just courts), a clubhouse, and a helipad. Because who could possibly find the money to invest in something that didn’t include an all-important helipad.
Hilariously, or as hilarious as something can be that is related to a criminal conspiracy in a foreign country, the complex’s name was meant to be “Ballet” by Maria Sharapova which ... huh? The closest Maria has ever gotten to ballet is her fashion line of ballet flats, and it barely makes sense as even a highly obscure and brand conscious name.
The case will be heard in India, so what this means for Sharapova’s time on tour next year (the season starts in just over a month) isn’t confirmed as yet. She hasn’t commented on the reports, but if she has to fly to India to appear in foreign courts about this matter, it’s bound to interrupt her training.