FASHION - AUGUST 27, 2011
"The tennis champ chats about spy novels, shoes and the shot her opponents should watch out for at the U.S. Open next week"
Tennis champ Maria Sharapova is known as a tough, aggressive player. Her grunting during matches is as legendary as her signature swinging volley. When off court, she's a striking blend of steeliness and unabashed femininity. She loves high heels but also tough Rick Owens leather jackets. She loves Pippi Longstocking books and fluffy rom-coms and the challenging paintings of experimental artist Ed Moses. That mix of girliness and brass has made the Russian-born 24-year-old a favorite in the sports and fashion worlds.
Brands including Evian, Tag Heuer and Sony Ericsson have asked her to work on endorsement deals, and Cole Haan tapped her to design a line of shoes and handbags in 2009. Her ballet flats, featured in Vogue, among other fashion magazines, have become one of the brand's top-selling shoes. She also has an apparel line with Nike, Cole Haan's parent company.
Forbes recently ranked Ms. Sharapova as the world's highest-paid female athlete for the seventh straight year: She earned $25 million, double the amount of any other female athlete in the world.
But back to tennis. Once plagued by injuries and erratic playing, over the past year she has muscled her way back into the top 10. In July, she reached her first Wimbledon final since her landmark win over Serena Williams in 2004 at age 17. Last Sunday, she clinched the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. She is now ranked fourth as she heads to the U.S. Open in New York, which begins Monday.
We caught up with Ms. Sharapova, who splits her time between homes in Sarasota, Fla., and Manhattan Beach, Calif., fresh off her on-court victory.
I much prefer heels
to sneakers. As a girl, it was "Give me my great Jimmy Choos." The other girls wanted new Nikes.
Every time I go to Paris
, I have to stop at the Rick Owens store and get a new jacket. I have about seven.
I have so many favorite designers
. Stella McCartney is definitely on the list. Sarah Burton has done an incredible job for Alexander McQueen. I'm wearing her a lot on the red carpet. I worked with her on my ESPY Awards dress.
My favorite purchases
of all time are pieces from painters Chris Gwaltney and Ed Moses. I love to collect modern art.
Recently, I've been listening to Adele a lot. I like "Someone Like You,"
the emotions of it are strong, powerful. Music is a part of my life all the time—on the plane, before matches, driving out to the court.
My guilty TV pleasure is
"Chelsea Lately." I love Chelsea Handler.
My swinging volley
is my most dangerous shot. It's a rewarding shot. I don't know if it catches my opponents off guard but I hope it does.
The one piece of jewelry
I almost never take off is my cross necklace I got from my parents when I was very young.
After a match
, I go shopping if I lose. If I win, I prepare for the next match.
My favorite thing about playing in the U.S. Open
is the crowd. They're always great and enthusiastic. You really feel that energy when playing.
I like to read something that is easy and quick. I'm a big fan of Pippi Longstocking books. I've always loved children's literature. It's feel-good reading. And I like Sherlock Holmes. I love the world of spying.
I'm terrible at other sports.
I don't even try.
My favorite shampoo
My favorite perfume
is Stella McCartney. It's really fresh. You can wear it day and night. I like things that are practical.
The best time is
when I'm around family and friends cooking or having an afternoon tea party or doing karaoke.
My favorite restaurants are
Mari Vanna in New York and MB Post, a new restaurant in Manhattan Beach. Pelmenis would be my favorite dish at Mari Vanna; at MB Post, braised short ribs with pomegranate couscous.
The last purchase I made was
a navy and blue Céline sweater. It's practical for everyday life.
My favorite drink is
a glass of red wine or a good sangria.
The best lesson I've learned, in terms of being an athlete,
is when faced with adversity keep a balance line. Whether you win a match or lose a match, in terms of your emotions, it's important to be pretty levelheaded.