Maria Sharapova’s Future: Architecture and Candy, but Not Coaching Tennis

Written by on February 29, 2020

The exit interview had nearly ended final week once I requested Maria Sharapova if she would think about teaching in retirement.

Sharapova, standing tall as standard, doubled over with laughter.

Protected to say that was a no.

She additionally closed the door on a comeback as a participant regardless that comebacks are a staple of girls’s tennis.

“No,” she mentioned. “I promise everybody.”

Kim Clijsters, a mom of three, just lately returned to the tour at age 36 after greater than seven years away from competitors. Serena Williams, Sharapova’s kryptonite, is enjoying on searching for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at age 38, as she raises her 2-year-old daughter, Olympia.

Sharapova formally called its quits on Wednesday at 32, which appears younger for a famous person to retire on this tennis period, even when Caroline Wozniacki left the sport at 29 in January.

“It’s powerful to match everybody’s positions when it’s time,” Sharapova mentioned. “I feel all people has very various things happening of their life, and I feel for girls there’s additionally the dialog of household, which is clearly a giant a part of Serena’s comeback after stepping away from the sport for a little bit little bit of time. However I feel if there’s somebody who can break data it’s her, and I’ve little question that she will.”

Sharapova, who needs to have youngsters, mentioned she had by no means envisioned enjoying after turning into a dad or mum.

She mentioned she “wouldn’t know the best way to do each” and would battle to sacrifice time together with her youngsters to “dedicate hours and hours in your physique and in your power and on the court docket.” She added: “These are by no means the circumstances I wished to have a baby round.”

Some individuals may take umbrage at that perspective, particularly as many athletes try for extra work-life steadiness.

However Sharapova mentioned her considering was formed partly by a two-year separation from her mom, Yelena, after she left Russia at age 6 together with her father, Yuri, to coach in Florida. Visa issues saved Yelena from becoming a member of them.

“That positively influences a number of selections that I’ll make sooner or later,” Sharapova mentioned, including: “There’s the expression, ‘You make plans and God laughs,’ and I actually hope he doesn’t snicker.”

Sharapova acknowledges that her parents did the best they could in a difficult scenario after the transfer to Florida. “I’ve actually had such good relationships with my mom and my dad,” she mentioned, “however I wish to give my youngsters a way of peace and a way of simply dwelling.”

So how will Sharapova spend her time now that she has retired with 5 Grand Slam singles titles, power ache in her proper shoulder and her forearms, and hundreds of thousands within the financial institution?

She seems properly positioned it doesn’t matter what she decides.

“She has received the expertise. She has the brains for it and the know-how. Take your choose, commissioner of girls’s sports activities, head of the I.O.C., I don’t know. She may go anyplace with it,” mentioned Martina Navratilova, the tennis nice who noticed a younger Sharapova at a Moscow clinic and really useful that she prepare at IMG Academy in Florida. “It simply relies upon what can be her subsequent ardour.”

For now, sports activities administration just isn’t in her plans and is likely to be politically sophisticated contemplating her suspension to be used of the just lately banned substance meldonium in 2016.

The ban has left an simple stain regardless that an arbitration panel that lowered her ban from two years to 15 months concluded that she had not deliberately cheated. Social-media posts on her retirement have been awash in good-riddance commentary like “drug cheat” and “Sharadopa.”

“It was a scenario I needed to undergo, and I did it in essentially the most trustworthy and humbling method,” Sharapova mentioned. “And to be in my place and be so susceptible and to say I made this error and to undergo two trials, maintain coaching the best way I did after which come again and go on court docket and compete with the identical quantity of affection for the game is an unbelievable instance. And I’m pleased with that.”

Nonetheless, her suspension might be a possible impediment going ahead. Her 2017 autobiography, “Unstoppable,” delivered underwhelming gross sales in North America regardless of her outstanding life story.

A worldwide star at 17 after upsetting Williams to win Wimbledon in 2004, Sharapova was among the many first feminine athletes to construct a personal brand reasonably than only a portfolio.

“After I retired in 2006, any individual mentioned to me, ‘You must work in your model.’ And I mentioned, ‘What’s that?’” Navratilova mentioned. “I used to be 50 years outdated, and I didn’t know what that meant. I assumed, Coca-Cola? I imply, I’m a model? Me? So she was forward of her time, and he or she capitalized on it, and that reveals her multi-dimensionality.”

Sharapova, in fact, had huge assist from her agent, Max Eisenbud, and different advisers.

Forbes has estimated that Sharapova was the world’s highest-earning feminine athlete for 11 consecutive years and that she made almost $30 million in 2015. (Her profession earnings have been finally overtaken by these of Williams.)

“That’s much more than the $900 Maria and her dad got here with to the united statesA.,” Eisenbud mentioned.

“As an 18- or 19-year-old, she was sitting in board rooms with Nike and serving to design attire and all these forms of issues,” he continued, including: “She simply has this capability to grasp, study and ask questions. I’ve gone to photograph shoots with so many consumers, and he or she’s the one one who will meet with the photographer and artistic workforce and actually attempt to perceive what they’re in search of.”

Eisenbud mentioned Sharapova’s long-term endorsement offers with Nike, Evian and Porsche would proceed in retirement. She is serious about learning structure, designing tennis and sports activities amenities and specializing in the administration of her sweet firm, Sugarpova.

“I want she would do much less with the sweet bit,” Navratilova mentioned. “Sugar is simply not good for youths.”

Sharapova mentioned she would quickly be headed to a enterprise convention in Salt Lake Metropolis that she had been unable to attend as an lively participant.

“I’m extra forward-driven, and I’m additionally extremely aggressive,” she mentioned. “And there are a number of facets in life and in enterprise that I wish to sink my tooth into.”

However as she leaves what she calls her “day job” for one thing new, she has continuity elsewhere. She and her boyfriend, Alexander Gilkes, a British businessman who based a web based public sale web site, have been collectively for greater than two years.

“He’s been an extremely constructive affect in my life, and he’s very pleased that he will get to spend extra time with me,” Sharapova mentioned, although she conceded that her extra steady schedule is likely to be disorienting. “He’s barely fearful. He retains calling me ‘Hurricane Maria.’”

That’s as a result of throughout her peripatetic profession she made a behavior of dashing into his life after which instantly disappearing.

“He’s like, ‘Wait, you’re not leaving for 3 weeks?’” Sharapova mentioned, grinning. “I’m like, ‘Let me verify. Maintain on.’”

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