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3,957 Posts

JAN 13, 2021
by David Kane

Maria Sharapova retired from tennis early last year and is ready to just be, which makes her guest appearance on Bethenny Frankel’s Just B podcast a perfectly logical pivot.

Frankel, formerly the Sharapova of the reality juggernaut The Real Housewives of New York City, launched her podcast in the fall of 2020 and invited the five-time Grand Slam champion to discuss building a brand, aesthetics and the value of a dollar in an episode that aired on Tuesday.

“When I was training and very young, I never thought about money,” Sharapova said when asked about being one of the sport’s richest athletes—though she rejects the figures often cited in the media.

“My parents always provided an environment that may not have been full of rich luxuries, but one that was always comfortable and safe. I always felt like that was enough, and I never knew what more money would bring me because I was so comfortable with what I had.”

Sharapova, who recently became engaged to longtime boyfriend Alexander Gilkes, had indeed made plenty of money, first as a Wimbledon champion in 2004, then as the face of elite brands like Nike and Evian, and later as the brain behind Sugarpova, her confectionary empire.

“I wasn’t the smartest person in the room, and I’m still far from it," the 33-year-old said. "As I grew up in my early 20s, I became very curious, and I started questioning many things. I started attending meetings that maybe I didn’t need to be at, but I wanted to learn along the way.

“I took a few courses at Harvard Business School in the summer when I had some time. I put myself in design meetings when I was in Portland, working with Nike on collections. I just wanted to gather all this information and potentially apply it to different aspects of my business career.”

Sharapova made an instant connection with Frankel, whose Skinnygirl brand targeted women looking for a healthy way to indulge with cocktails—given Sugarpova attempts the same balancing act with candy.

“If you’re constantly saying ‘no’ to yourself if you have a drink or chocolate in front of you, and every single day you’re saying, ‘no,’ you’re wasting more energy on that as opposed to just giving yourself the occasional comfort," she said.

Comfortable as she may be now, having embraced retirement, this next chapter of life, and how it has allowed her to pursue other interests like travel and architecture, the former world No. 1 concedes she never felt better than she did on the court at the peak of her powers.

“I never felt more comfortable than when there was sweat and tears in the third hour of a match, in the finals of a Grand Slam," she said. "I couldn’t care less how my hair looked, whether my skin was glowing or about my pigmentation. I put all of that aside because what truly mattered, and what I loved bringing out—and what I genuinely believed was beautiful—was showcasing strength from within...

“I just saw straight, and I was on a mission, and I just wanted to perform. I always felt proudest when I could showcase that inner mental strength. That, to me, was beautiful.”

Check out the full interview on the Just B with Bethenny Frankel podcast.


11,165 Posts

The former world No. 1 described some of her lowest moments, ultimate decision to retire, and what she learned from being a woman in sports on Just B with Bethenny.

By David Kane
January 18, 2021

Maria Sharapova opened up about her decision to end a tennis career that spanned nearly two decades on the Just B with Bethenny podcast last Tuesday.

The five-time Grand Slam champion, who first underwent shoulder surgery in 2008 for a torn rotator cuff, described her share of dark days to host Bethenny Frankel as pain from that injury resurfaced in the final years of her career.

“I had a physio who spent more time working on my shoulder than I spent on the court in the last few years, because that’s how long it took me just to get on the court,” said the former world No. 1. “I realized the importance of having my body worked on. It was nice but also excruciating because you wake up and are constantly thinking what you have to do for your shoulder.

“It was constant maintenance. There were days where I couldn’t get through practice. You have this team you employ, sometimes five people on the practice court, and your body just breaks down, and I couldn’t even finish practice.”

Sharapova served a 15-month suspension due to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, and though she returned in 2017 to win a WTA title in Tianjin and reach the quarterfinals of Roland Garros eight months later, a second shoulder surgery kept her off the court for much of the 2019 season.

The 33-year-old credited her team, last led by Riccardo Piatti, with helping her through the toughest times as she made the ultimate decision to hang up her racquets 12 months ago.

“I surrounded myself with individuals who supported me along the way, but it’s hard to make the call to your mom and say, ‘I can’t practice for the next three days because I can’t serve, and I have to do something about it.’ That’s tough on the family and it trickles down. Those elements were just starting to add up.

“I’ve always been fairly stubborn, and that’s taken me to some wonderful places in my sport, but in the end, it can become a detriment because you’re so stubborn to keep going that you lose sight of new opportunities that could be right in front of your eyes.”

Having long compartmentalized the many facets of her life—sport, business, and personal—Sharapova made a seamless transition into civilian life, continuing to pursue her business venture, embracing a passion for architecture, and celebrating an engagement to boyfriend Alexander Gilkes.

“It’s so interesting because, for as penetrating of a sport and my career as it was—and as consuming as it was—when you enter my home or any bedroom, there was no evidence of the sport. There was no racquet anywhere in the corner, no trophy, no photographs.

“I didn’t do it consciously. Part of me just doesn’t like a lot of crap lying around! I have a very clean, minimal aesthetic, and so I never had a lot of photos or memories. They were always in my mind but never exposed.

“I think it explains my relationship because when I would exit my home, get in the car, get to the court and close the gate, it was all business. I put so much focus in, and that was my greatest strength. Anything could be going on in the world, good or bad, and when I entered the court, it was as though nothing existed. I didn’t have time to think. I had to be fast, sharp, smart, work with a team that would share feedback and information that I had to swallow. Sometimes it was critical and tough. I didn’t have time to think about anything else; I was in it.

“But then I would leave, and that was the time during which I would expose myself to business, to art, to architecture, when I would spend time with my friends. I didn’t feel bad about these other interests because I knew that when I would get back to the court, it was important.

“I still feel like that’s my relationship. I know this sport like the back of my hand; there’s nothing I will know better. But I’m also happy to put it aside, and say that this was an incredibly beautiful chapter of my life, and there are other things to come.”

Sharapova, who tags 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and WTA founder Billie Jean King as her Greatest Athletes of All Time, looks back on her career with no regrets, and emerges with a deep understanding of the duality required to be a woman in sports.

"Did I enjoy winning a championship and doing a photoshoot with the trophy in a pretty dress? Of course. I’d have a hair and make-up team that made me feel like I was a princess. Those are certainly moments I’m going to miss, because you do feel like you’re on top of the world. You’ve just accomplished something in sport and now you’re wearing this beautiful dress.

"I suppose that makes it like two polar opposites, but that’s what made me successful in that world. My priority and what I really, truly believed in was my mental strength. That’s much more beautiful than anything else I could offer."

Sharapova outlines next chapter on Bethenny podcast

3,957 Posts
Skimm'd from the Couch: Maria Sharapova

Published on: Jan 20, 2021

Maria Sharapova spent years playing tennis five hours a day, seven days a week. The result? Five grand slam wins. And an Olympic medal. Her career is a lesson in grit and determination. And shows that hard work really does pay off. Now, Maria brings that same determination to her business career. This week, Maria shares the secret to staying motivated in any job…even if you aren’t a world class athlete.

On Growing Up Determined
Carly: You were pro by age 14 and won Wimbledon by age 17. We’re close in age and so at the time, you were in my peer set a little bit. And I was like, "Oh, that's so cool.” I didn't really appreciate just how crazy that is for a kid. I know what I was like at 14, I know what I was like at 17. What was that like? What was your personality like, both on the court and at home? How much of a kid were you?

Maria: My entire upbringing was very untraditional. The entire path of education and how I studied to how I trained and played tennis for probably seven days a week for five hours a was very different to what kids were doing and teenagers were doing at that time. I think the path was very different and it set my mind to work differently. I was on a mission.

I had this fearless mentality that I'm in this individual sport, I'm doing something very different, I love what I do. Some days I win, some days I lose, but I feel like I'm getting better. And I constantly had this fire to keep getting better…. While I was playing, I always had this mentality that I want to feel like I haven't won anything yet, that I keep striving to win as if I don't have anything. That I don't have the financial security, that I don't necessarily have those victories and those titles.

On Pressure
Carly: We talk a lot on this show about anxiety and how successful people deal with it, mask it, where it shows up for them. Where did it show up for you as an athlete? Did it show up for you?

Maria: I think pressure and anxiety are quite different. Pressure was this feeling that I came across many times and I found a lot of value in that because I feel that that's where I've really tested myself. Because when you're in the back courts and training in front of your team, there's not a lot on the line. But so much of being an athlete was not showing how great you are on court 21, it was showing how great you were on center court and then doing it for 12 months out of the year.

Carly: ....Did you have anxiety walking onto the court?

Maria: ....When I would play a night match…. I'd do a little warm up in my hotel gym in the morning, and then I had lunch in my hotel room, and then I'd take a 45 minute nap. And I don't remember one nap that I didn't wake up from before a match and just said to myself, "Let's go." Like, "It's time. It's time to go." I loved being at that stage because why else would you be training all those hours? Why else would you wake up so early in the morning and beat yourself up over a mistake in the net? It is to look forward to those big stages.

Full episode:

On Apple:

On Spotify:


3,957 Posts
Maria Sharapova's Athletic Endeavors

Longtime Doré friend Maria Sharapova has been pretty busy. We featured her in our first season of Pardon My French (the web series! throwback!) and since then she's flexed her expertise on and off of the tennis court, making quite the name for herself as an entrepreneur. She's got her guilt-free candy brand, Sugarpova, and recently has started investing in some pretty wonderful fitness start ups, like Theragun. We're excited to bring you Maria's Edit!

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