Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — Maria Sharapova, the world’s best- paid female athlete, may drop some sponsors in favor of agreements that give the three-time tennis Grand Slam champion a percentage of sales, her agent said.

“She has wealth,” Max Eisenbud, vice president of IMG Tennis, said in an interview yesterday in New York. “She wants to focus on deals where she has equity in, where she helps designing, gets a percentage of the sales.”

Sharapova, 22, has made about $22 million in prize money and from endorsing companies including Tiffany & Co., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ltd. and Cannon Inc., according to Sports Illustrated. The Russian was the only woman in the magazine’s July list of the top 20 highest-earning non-U.S. athletes.

Sharapova, who has nine sponsors, last year didn’t renew a 2007 agreement with PepsiCo Inc.’s Gatorade sports drink and Tropicana fruit juice brand. She instead extended a deal with U.S. clothing, shoe, handbag and accessory designer Cole Haan because it gave her the opportunity to be involved in design, Eisenbud said.

“Gatorade and Cole Haan came up at the same time,” he said. “We couldn’t do both, so we had to make a choice. The focus now is on deals that she can develop after her career.”

According to Ms Sharapova’s agent, as quoted by Bloomberg, “the focus now is on deals that she can develop after her career.”

Well played.

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