x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Style File: Maria Sharapova

Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova shares some of her favourite things with M magazine.

My guiltiest pleasure is shopping: shoes and handbags.
My guiltiest pleasure is shopping: shoes and handbags.

The Russian professional tennis player Maria Yuryevna Sharapova needs no introduction. Anyone who has even a vague interest in sport will have probably heard of her and her successes; a former world No. 1, Sharapova made her professional breakthrough in 2004 when, at age 17, she defeated the two-time defending champion Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon Final for her first Grand Slam singles title. She went on to win two more Grand Slam singles titles at the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open. Since then, Sharapova has won five singles titles (bringing her career total to 24) and is currently ranked world No. 4.

For Sharapova, her interest in the game started young: "I started playing with a racket when I was about 4 years old. I used to accompany my dad when he played tennis and I quickly showed some enthusiasm in hitting the wall with a (ball) and racket."

Sharapova's public profile extends beyond tennis, as she has undertaken a number of modelling assignments and is a brand ambassador for TAG Heuer. Since February 2007, she has been a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, concerned specifically with the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme. Tennis, it seems, opened many doors, as she says: "It made me who I am now and I am thankful for every bit of it. It gave me the chance to travel worldwide, to experience different cultures, to meet fantastic people and most importantly, it brought me the most loyal fans I could ever dream of."

In June 2011, she was named one of the 30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future by Time magazine. She talks to Jemma Nicholls about her life and passions.



FIVE WORDS TO DESCRIBE ME ARE... sincere, hard-working, focused, passionate, fashionista.

BEING STYLISH MEANS... less is more. Finding the right balance between "wow" and understated elegance.

I FEEL HAPPIEST... at any big stadium for a night match.

MY HEROES IN REAL LIFE ARE... my parents. I admire the courage they had to help me follow my dream.

WHAT DRIVES ME ON IS... my passion for tennis, for the game and the competition.

I NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT... my cell phone and my TAG Heuer watch. Being on time is a matter of respect for the people I interract with. It is key in my sport too.

MY FAVOURITE WAY TO RELAX IS... reading a good book, designing, sketching and spending time with my friends and family.

MY MOST DEFINING MOMENT SO FAR IS... when I won Wimbledon. It was like all the hard work I had put in for years had finally paid off.