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Coming off her win at the French Open, Maria Sharapova was the star turn at the pre-Wimbledon soiree thrown by the Women’s Tennis Association at London’s Kensington Roof Gardens Thursday night. Glittering in an Antonio Berardi white chiffon dress, embellished with silver sequins, the player, who is the top women’s seed at Wimbledon, said the tournament has a sentimental place in the whirlwind of tennis competitions she attends. “All the memories of me winning as a young girl at 17 always come back every time I come to Wimbledon,” said Sharapova. And after her early successes, the player noted she’s become well-versed in the art of decompressing between tournaments. “I enjoy spending time with myself — I think that’s the best therapy,” she noted. “It’s finding a way to get away from the outside world and get within yourself a little bit.” To that end, after she’s spent the traditional summer-vacation season on the court, Sharapova has a getaway lined up in November. “My close friends always set up time off work, and we all get together,” she said with a smile.
Sharapova was joined by fellow players, including Venus and Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kvitova, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki, who gathered to sip Champagne and Arabian-themed cocktails — courtesy of the party’s host, Dubai Duty Free — ahead of when the serious playing kicks off on Monday. A few non-sporty guests also joined in the festivities, including Leah Weller, Tamara Ecclestone and Kimberly Wyatt.