Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Shines
By Jill SIERACKI
In the first six months of this year, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, 24, zigzagged across the globe to tournaments in Auckland, Madrid, Miami, Stanford and Rome, where she won her first championship of 2011. Going into this weekend’s US Open, Sharapova is ranked fifth in the world and hopes to once again lift that championship cup (she first won in 2006).
After going pro in 2001, Sharapova has been ranked the top-earning female athlete by Forbes magazine for the past seven years—and remains a fan favorite for her fashion collections for Nike and Cole Haan, as well as her foundation that provides scholarships to students in Belarus. Here, the Tag Heuer brand ambassador offers her advice to the next generation of tennis professionals and our local amateurs.
What would you say to any new athletes playing in their first US Open?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Embrace the atmosphere. The nerves will be there, but so what? Enjoy every second of it.
Porsche Cayennes, trophies and big checks are nice, but how do you personally celebrate a big win?
MS: By purchasing the quickest ticket back home. There is nothing like coming back to your own bed and your favorite cup of coffee.
What three things must you always travel with?
MS: A cashmere scarf, a great book and a large amount of patience.
What is one career moment of which you are most proud?
MS: Being so fearless at my first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, when I was 17 years old.
What inspired you to design your own collection of tennis clothing?
MS: When I was young, Nike did not have a junior line, so I always found myself rolling the extra-small skirts and cutting the tops. I always dreamed of one day being able to dress women in unique pieces that had the right fit, the right amount of beautiful details and, of course, comfort.
Other than drills on the court, what are some of your favorite summer outdoor workouts?
MS: I like taking runs by the water. There is nothing better than exercising outdoors and looking at the ocean.
If you were designing your ultimate Hamptons tennis court, what would it look like?
MS: Instead of the usual metal fence, I would make a low wooden enclosure with beautiful landscaping and roses all around—and close to the beach so it would have a nice ocean breeze.
What might we not know about you?
MS: I love to eat and I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet. I’m not sure how I would burn all of it off if I were not an athlete.
If you had one day to spend in the Hamptons any way you choose, how would you spend it?
MS: I would embrace the warm weather and wear a new bikini, try out the new restaurants and go to sleep early so I can wake up early and witness the beautiful sunrise.
PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS WHITESIDE FOR TAG HEUER