Fourth placed mobile handset vendor, Sony Ericsson, announced Sunday that it has signed an exclusive four year sponsorship agreement with female tennis ace, Maria Sharapova.

The 20 year old Russian, who is ranked as the fifth best female player in the world, will feature in a series of new consumer brand campaigns targeted at Sony Ericsson’s core audiences.

Sharapova will also be working with Sony Ericsson’s design team on a range of products and accessories, the company said.

The deal follows Sony Ericsson’s 6 year $88m global title sponsorship of the WTA Tour, which was signed in January 2005.

Dee Dutta, corporate VP and head of marketing at Sony Ericsson, said: “Now in our seventh year as a company, the brand has evolved significantly and securing a global brand ambassador is a natural progression to take our brand to the next level in an increasingly competitive market place.

“Our alignment with Maria’s global iconic status, combined with our brand expertise and innovative thinking aims to provide something new and something different to our customers around the world.”