London, UK & San Mateo, CA, April 4, 2005 -- Reigning Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova has signed with I-play, the mobile games company.?? Sharapova, who turns 18 on April 19, will front a new mobile game, titled I-play Maria Sharapova Tennis (developed by Dhruva Interactive, India??s leading games company), soon to be available across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.??
Blessed with powerful first and second serves, a fierce two-handed backhand, great speed, and an arsenal of amazing ground strokes, Sharapova combines supermodel looks with an aggressive playing style.?? The Russian-born, U.S.-based player took the tennis world by storm when she won the 2004 All-England Championships at Wimbledon, the world??s most prestigious tournament.?? Just 17 and only a professional player for three years, she also captured the WTA tournaments in Seoul and Tokyo before beating Serena Williams in the 2004 final of the WTA Championships in Los Angeles.?? In 2005, she won titles in Tokyo and Doha, Qatar, and reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.??
??Tennis is a sport that everyone should be able to enjoy across any format, and by using my name in a mobile gaming context, I hope that tennis fans will be able to share my passion, whatever the weather or conditions of play,?? said Sharapova.??
????As part of our drive to create mobile games for everyone, we are very pleased to bring an athlete of huge, global appeal like Maria Sharapova to mobile gaming.?? The game will be simple to play but difficult to master, just like tennis itself, and we are very much looking forward to working with our distribution partners as well as other Maria Sharapova marketing partners to bring it to as wide an audience as possible,?? said Paul Maglione, Senior Vice President of Publishing and Marketing for I-play.??
I-Play Maria Sharapova Tennis joins other I-play mobile games based on well-known sports personalities, including Colin McRae Rally 2005; Nate Adams Freestyle Motocross and, via I-play??s distribution arrangement with Electronic Arts, EA Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005.??
The Maria Sharapova deal was brokered by IMG, the world??s premier sports and lifestyle management firm.?? ??The increasing popularity of mobile games enables us to help our sports personalities capitalize on the opportunities that this powerful medium presents.?? After a careful selection process we felt that I-play was the partner that we could work with closely and entrust with Maria Sharapova??s name and image,?? said Greg Oldfield, Vice President Brand Marketing & Interactive Media, IMG.??
The mobile games company behind the game today also unveiled its new brand, ??I-play?? and its mission to make mobile gaming easy, intuitive and fun for a mass-market audience. I-play believes that gaming is an integral part of the global mobile lifestyle and will deliver on a ??consumer comes first?? promise. Through an expanding games portfolio ranging from premium-branded action titles to simple, ??one-thumb?? puzzle and arcade games; I-play will bring consumers quality, easy-to-use and easy-to-access content that gives a great gameplay experience.