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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

After Hurricane Maria, Sharapova heading to Puerto Rico to help with relief work

Russian inspired by fellow tennis player Monica Puig's plea for assistance

Maria Sharapova has already pledged to donate all profits from her sweet business Sugarpova for the rest of the year to the relief efforts. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP Photo
Maria Sharapova has already pledged to donate all profits from her sweet business Sugarpova for the rest of the year to the relief efforts. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP Photo

Maria Sharapova will travel to Puerto Rico next week to help with relief efforts.

The Caribbean island suffered devastating damage from Hurricane Maria last month and an estimated one million people still do not have running water.

Sharapova played an exhibition match against Puerto Rican Monica Puig in San Juan last December and the pair have united to try to help residents of the island.

Puig set up a fundraising page in the aftermath of the storm, with the total standing at more than US$130,000 (approximately Dh477,000).

That money has been used to buy lamps, stoves, propane cylinders and medication, which have been shipped to Puerto Rico, where Puig and Sharapova will distribute the supplies.

Sharapova has already pledged to donate all profits from her sweet business Sugarpova for the rest of the year to the relief efforts, while Nick Kyrgios is donating 50 dollars for every ace he hits.

Puig, who won Olympic gold in Rio last summer, said on insideout-tennis.de: "It was amazing to see the support from other players and to see how much they really cared about what was going on.

"I'm the only tennis player from Puerto Rico, so I don't really have that many people backing me.

Monica Puig became the first Puerto Rican to win an Olympic singles tennis medal. Luis Acosta / AFP
Monica Puig became the first Puerto Rican to win an Olympic singles tennis medal. Luis Acosta / AFP

"I will go with Maria on Monday, so we will both be helping out. I also really like the fact that she's contributing, especially after the warm welcome that Puerto Rico gave her.

"I know that they will welcome her back with open arms as well and we're just going to try and do what we can to help the island."

Sharapova's season ended with a first-round loss to Magdalena Rybarikova at the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday while Puig is into the quarter-finals of the Luxembourg Open.