[b]Exclusive tips from Maria Sharapova on ‘How to become a champion’. [
Don’t have any regrets.
“If you’re thinking of doing something, really go for it. If you have any incredible opportunities or chances, you really want to take them, because you don’t want to look back after however many years and think that you weren’t there when you wanted to be, whether that’s physically or mentally. It’s important to give everything you have, and to commit to the sport.”
From a young age, you need discipline.
You need to sacrifice a lot. “The moments that you look back to – if you are victorious – are the moments when you really knew that it was tough, and that you had to push yourself. That you faced adversity and showed that you can dig deep. I look back at those moments and think, ‘yeah, that was tough, but I got through it’. Friends would have sleepovers at the weekend, and I would have a tennis tournament on the weekend, and wouldn’t be able to join them. As a young girl, that’s a huge deal. Even to this day, my friends have vacations in the summer – they’re going off on holidays – and I’m playing the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back so my holiday doesn’t come until November when the season’s over. Maybe my life isn’t as normal as my friends’ lives, but the great thing is that my friends respect that, and we always make it work.”
Enjoy every experience.
“Or at least try to. Enjoy the good experiences, enjoy the not-so-good experiences. Enjoy it all. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s all a roller-coaster. There are going to be lots of ups and downs. Take it all in. Learn from everything.”
Become mentally stronger with every experience.
“I don’t think you can teach someone to think like a champion. I think you have to have that mentality. I think you can learn how to be stronger mentally. You can learn how to control your emotions a bit better. But you can’t teach someone to think like a champion. You can’t put that pressure on someone. I hope that I’ve grown as a person and as a player, that I’ve become stronger mentally and emotionally. I’m obviously a lot more experienced now than I was as a teenager. I’ve been through so much. I’ve experienced so much during my career, on and off the court.”