Maria Sharapova Plans Her Comeback! The Russian Star’s Secret to Dominating the Tennis Court
People don't often see her like that. Here's the graceful Maria Sharapova at the gym lifting a heavy barbell. She's doing strength exercises and lifting serious weights. But Sharapova was brought up in the traditions of the classical school of tennis, which is distinguished not by force, but by flexibility, perfected technique, and game intelligence. So what is the former #1 betting on when preparing to conquer the most prestigious courts again?
— It looks like that tennis is changing and becoming a more powerful sport. What do you think about it?
Maria Sharapova, professional tennis player: «The tennis that I played when I was 17 isn't the tennis we play today. I think it's much more physical than it used to be. I never did then what I do in the gym today. I only trained on the court. Now, your shoulders must be strong, your knees must be strong. This requires extra time. Yes, the times are changing. But we have to change, too».
Not just tennis fans, but even a wider audience, sweet tooths, have discovered the new Sharapova. Maria founded her own brand of sweets and chocolate: Sugarpova. The brand name is a combination of the English word «sugar» and the tennis player’s surname. In the US alone, there are 50,000 sales outlets, and the company itself is estimated at $20 million.
Maria Sharapova: I remember from my childhood that when I flew to America and went to the movie theater, there was a sort of, well, assorted sweets, which I'd never seen in Russia. And keeping those memories in mind, my agent Max and I sat at the table. And I told him, «Look, I have an idea!» And we decided that Sugarpova… Everyone laughed when we told him about the name. So, it's been six years…
— And the sweets are very tasty. I personally buy them regularly.
— Thank you. I regularly eat them, but I never tell anyone.
One of the best sellers is a chewing gum in the form of tennis balls called «The Taste of Victory».
— You live in the USA.
— But you perform under the Russian flag.
— And you were among those who carried the Olympic flame in Sochi.
— I even get goosebumps when you say this.
— Do you feel more like an American or a Russian?
— It’s not a secret that I've spent the majority of my life in the USA, I moved there when I was 7. Well, I can reveal a small secret with you. When I perform in my homeland, I have feelings which I don’t have when I perform in the USA. Yes, I have many friends in the USA, and I probably speak English more often than Russian. But still, when I'm at home, and when talking with my parents and my family, I feel my homeland in my heart.
It's hard to imagine, but Maria Sharapova, who was born in the town of Nyagan in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and then lived in Sochi, has never been to Saint Petersburg. In January, after the Australian Open, she'll come to the city on the Neva. She'll participate in the Ladies Trophy tournament. By the way, it has just been recognized as the best WTA tournament in 2018 in the Premier classification. The struggle is expected to be intense next year. In addition to Sharapova, the three-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, the ninth world's best player Kiki Bertens, and Daria Kasatkina, another Russian, a 21-year-old athlete who is already approaching the top of the world rankings, will participate in the tournament. So at the Ladies Trophy tournament in St. Petersburg, there will probably be a Russian final.
Alexander Khristenko, Nikolay Koskin, Anastasia Bukhanko for Vesti on Saturday from the US.