'Sharatrov' or 'Dimipova'; I'm still scratching my head as to which nickname works best for the Maria Sharapova/Grigor Dimitrov relationship. Whatever the case, the pair's partnership can only be good for tennis.

There's a danger with modern sports nowadays that personalities and off-field talking points are being ground away in order to save pubic image.

Press conferences of football manager and top end footballers, for example, in the most part, are just repetitive bile churned-out on the advice of over-protective PR and in-house media representatives.

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Big personalities 

The exuberant, yet exciting days of Ian Botham, John McEnroe and Paul Gascoigne are being ruthlessly discouraged. Just look at the modern-day mavericks, Kevin Pietersen and Mario Balotelli, they lose their places for the perceived unhelpful fanfare that follows their actions, but they are entertainers. 

Andy Murray is a big example of how a top-range British sportsman was forced to curl completely into his shell.

The Scottish-born star has an underrated personality, if there was ever such thing. You get the impression from fellow pros that the 27-year-old is a popular man in private, but his dry sense of humour never transferred well in the media.

Questions over his: "Britishness," was always a major talking point, from that point onward the the two-time major champion was sure to avoid controversy, perhaps leading to perceptions of dullness. 

Perfect partnership

An easy balance, therefore, cannot be easy to strike up. However, Sharapova and Dimitrov certainly look to be on the right path.

Their relationship is a bright spark, regardless of whether the purists may claim it to be nothing more than a Daily Mail's dream-type distraction from the clean hitting and on-court heritage that those purists want tennis to be known as. 

They both provide a talking point, and show the lighter, more breezier side to the ultra competitive sport. Whilst keeping themselves to themselves, the duo promote intrigue and interest, rather than getting involved in trashy headlines.

Growth

It cannot be easy to sustain relationships between two top-end sportspeople; Rory McIllroy and Caroline Wozniacki's recent plight lends evidence to that, but to see Sharapova and Dimitrov working is great.

Their respective images have clearly improved through it.

Dimitrov, the next big thing in the men's game

To be fair Sharapova has always excelled off-court, her endorsements, businesses and other ventures see her take a place in the top five highest earning tennis players - but her relationship reveals another more personal side. Dimitrov, meanwhile, despite having never won a Grand Slam, has seen his marketability shoot up.

So we have two stars increasing the profile of the sport to a wider audience without any of the negativity; maybe we need a few more 'Sharatrovs' (I've decided that's my pick.)

Topics:
Maria Sharapova
Tennis