UAE. In this candid interview, Maria Sharapova talks about a variety of subjects including her home, her love for the sport, her love for the luxury watch brand TAG Heuer, her lifestyle, her extravagances and her interest in art.
In the highly competitive world of professional tennis, Maria Sharapova's journey to the top epitomises her resolve, perseverance and champion's desire to win. Her story is one of sacrifice, focus and extraordinary talent.
An only child, Maria was born on 19 April 1987, in the Russian industrial town of Nyagan in Western Siberia. Her parents relocated from Gomel, Russia, to get away from the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.
In 1989, Maria developed a love for tennis after watching her father Yuri on the courts, four-year-old Maria learned to play using a second-hand racket. Yuri quickly recognised and nurtured his daughter's exceptional talent.
The rest as they say is history. From her 2004 Wimbledon championship, to being the first Russian female to ever claim the number one ranking in the world, to being the fifth youngest female to ever hold the number one spot, to her growing list of corporate endorsements, Sharapova symbolises what hard work, world-class training and unwavering commitment can achieve: a champion on the world stage.
Maria Sharapova is young, talented and has a killer tennis game. For the young starlet that means unlimited earning power with her game and her endorsements and a spot on a list just released of the 'Forbes List of Richest Celebrities Under the Age of 25'. She's the hottest athlete on the list. The tennis ace pocketed US$23 million last year of which US$3.8 million was from winnings on the court.
Q: So what brings you to Dubai?
MS: I came for the official launch of the lifestyle project the Dubai Lifestyle City and to open the IMG Tennis Academy. I can say from experience that having an institution like IMG Academies in your back-yard is an excellent opportunity for all aspiring athletes in the region. My ties with the IMG Academies are extensive, going back as old as when I was nine years old. I trained and grew up at the Academy. Now as IMG becomes a part of Dubai Lifestyle City's realty offering I am confident that it will have a great impact on the sports enthusiasts and athletes in the region.
Q: What do you think about the younger lot of women’s tennis players?
MS: I feel I am young at heart. I take things on a day to day basis and see how I feel when I wake up each morning. I love to compete and I will probably want to go on playing for at least another five or six years. I love the game and I love to compete.
Q: So do you like Dubai as a destination?
MS: Yes I like Dubai immensely as it is very fast paced. When I retire from the sport, Dubai will be the ideal place to come and enjoy with my family. Dubai is such an incredible place. I have launched an ambitious project like the Dubai Lifestyle City.
Q: Any plans of investing in the real estate boom in Dubai?
MS: I would consider buying a house in Dubai in the near future. I will have to consult my family and see what they have to say about this though.
Q: With your commitment to the sport and constant travelling, how do you make time for endorsements?
MS: I work only with prestigious brands such as TAG Heuer and it is a delight to associate with them. I want to be associated with luxury brands that are at the top of their game. I love TAG Heuer watches and am fond of both their men’s and women’s watches. I like the Carrera for day time wear while for the evening’s I prefer the Monaco and the TAG Heuer Formula One with diamonds. I personaly feel that TAG Heuer watches are very streamlined and sporty and go well with my image. I can easily make a transition seamlessly from the tennis court to a board room to a weekend brunch complementing my style.
Q: Please tell us how conscious you are about fashion and style?
MS: I am always on the go and travelling for weeks together so my style is predominantly comfortable. Many people pay attention to trends, however, fashion has a way of repeating itself and today I see people wearing what I once saw my grandmother wear ages ago. For me fashion and style are is a way of presenting myself and creating my own unique style.
Q: What is your most recent extravagance?
MS: I recently bought a beach house in Southern California, if that can classify as an extravagance. Also I am into art and mostly into modern art since I bought this house.
Q: How would you describe yourself – as glamorous or practical?
MS: I would say a bit of both. When I make purchases I try to be logical and practical. I am quite an easygoing person otherwise.
Q: So home for you is?
MS: Home is totally peaceful and relaxed. My home in Florida is on a canal far from the hustle and bustle of the city where mostly old people live. I am probably the youngest in the community there. My other home is in Southern California and the vibe there is younger and its really chilled out; no one cares who’s who and what they wear and that’s something I like about the place.