U.S. Open season is as good a time as any to consider the role of the sports super-agent. Max Eisenbud, who manages tennis sensation Maria Sharapova, is a great model for success in the business–and then some. In a rare show of openness for a PR pro, he allowed The New York Times to publish a fairly extensive profile of him and his career this week.

In case you didn’t know, Sharapova has been the top-earning female athlete in the world for eight years in a row. Harvard Business School offers a course based solely on the building of her brand.

So what about Eisenbud? Well, he’s been in the ball-and-racket game for some time. A former college tennis player, his first foray into the PR biz came while organizing college parties and concerts, but he came across Sharapova when he was 27 (she was 12) and immediately recognized her as his “meal ticket.” Eisenbud’s background makes him an ideal representative for tennis stars, and given his long history with Sharapova, it makes perfect sense that the two would have a very close relationship (she calls him “half family, half agent”).

In fact, he’s taken his success with Sharapova viral. Where did he look for next big thing? China, of course.

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