Defined as she is by how she plays and what she wears on the tennis court, Maria Sharapova is far from a one-hit wonder, as indicated by her many interests.
Despite having nearly 5.4 million Facebook fans, she insists on remaining a private person. “I’m so bad at saying things about myself even though I have to do this all the time,” the tireless competitor said. But throughout a two-hour interview, the 24-year-old proved to be candid about a number of subjects — from how she likes nothing more than doing a puzzle with her grandmother to the fun of having a Russian tea party with her friends.
This story first appeared in the August 29, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Here, Sharapova’s thoughts on everything from her fashion tastes to magazines to any hidden talents.
The long and short of it
“When you’re tall and have long legs, I think all my fans expect me to wear short dresses — tight and short — and I’m like, ‘No.’ I love playing with different silhouettes. I live in pants and tops by Rick Owens. Every time I go to Paris, his store near the Royal Palais is one of my first stops. And Alber Elbaz knows what a woman will look good in no matter what shape and size. In my everyday life, I am a little more simple. I like Isabel Marant and Zara. I have a lot of Zara cardigans I put on with Rick Owens long pants, which I have to cut. Helmut Lang is good for everyday, and Chloé I wear on the red carpet. The shapes fit really well — even the sample sizes, which I’m not.”
Asking Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour for a rain check
“After the European tournaments, Anna sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to go to the Chanel couture show. I thought, ‘That sounds amazing, really it does.’ And [to miss it] this would be the second time I would have turned Karl down. A few years ago he had a Russian-inspired couture show. I was doing rehab three days a week on my shoulder and I couldn’t go. I was so bummed. He probably thinks I’m ignoring him — joking. I was just boarding the plane and she was like, ‘The show is tomorrow, come join me,’ and I was like, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sure you’ll understand I just want to go home and sleep in my own bed.’”
Vogue versus Sports Illustrated
“When I was 17, I was in Vogue and on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which I had no idea what that was. My agent Max said, ‘This is crazy — you’re on the cover of SI and you’re more excited about being on this page in Vogue…” Anna has come to Wimbledon for my last couple of matches. She has always really guided me in a good direction in fashion. She’s always there to respond. I’ve presented my Nike and Cole Haan designs to her.”
Fans in unexpected places
“I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with that. I know they’re really your fans but then I think if they were your fans they wouldn’t be at your hotel. A true fan would understand when you’re not training or you’re at your hotel or going to a restaurant, you don’t want to create a scene. But fans who come out to watch you practice, sit in the sun and wait for two hours to get a photo are incredible.”
“For women, a lot is about the fit, feel and the luxury of an item. For men, they buy a T-shirt with a logo and it’s great even if it’s two sizes too big. Most men don’t really care. Women really pay attention to a garment.”
Fiancé Sasha Vujacic
“I was not at the time in my life where a relationship was really what I was going out looking for, or pursuing or desperate for. I had just gotten out of one and it just came about. We had some mutual friend who just got us together. It wasn’t really a setup or anything. It was easy, really relaxed, you never really felt like you had to be somebody else. That’s when you know you’re comfortable, you’re happy. He is very family oriented. He is a great, hard worker, who understands what it takes to achieve just a little bit in sport. There is that mutual understanding that you have to be up at 7 in the morning to go train, so you can’t have a late dinner or go to a birthday party even if it’s for one of your best friends.”
“There’s no rush. We’re not going to do this in a few months. We want to take our time and have a normal wedding and not try to fit it in between two tournaments. It will be small. I would love it to be in nature with beautiful scenery. We’re both Orthodox so we were thinking of maybe doing a church ceremony, but we don’t know for sure. There are so many beautiful places in the world. I have a lot of people who I would love to work with to design it who are not necessarily bridal designers. But I won’t actually design it. I will definitely design my shoes. I’ve never been a big wedding dreamer, as some young girls have already thought of the perfect dress. I’ve never really had that.”
“I am terrible at any other sport. I always say, ‘If I didn’t play tennis, I don’t know what I would do.’”
“I don’t any more but I did. And I have my mom’s collection from when she was young. It was fun when I was young and I used to travel a lot. There weren’t a lot of unusual stamps out there. It would be tough to find them. It was kind of a mission for me to keep me entertained on the road. My agent Max made me promise I wouldn’t talk about it anymore. When I did a few years ago he started getting all these calls from stamp companies. He said to me, ‘I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but I can’t…’”
She said not learning more languages. She is fluent in Russian, and understands French and a little Spanish. “Unless you have the time to work on it and practice with people who are around you, it’s impossible to do.”
“I like to spend time with parents and Sasha obviously. After the French Open, we took a road trip to Paso Robles, where his family has a vineyard, and then drove up to Big Sur. We have game nights playing Yahtzee. I like Monopoly, though it never ends. And Scrabble, but we always get into arguments because we’re so competitive.”
“I have many, many. I am always touching my face. I don’t take care of my skin as much as I should, especially since I am in the sun as much as I am. Pretty low-key. I always say, ‘My eyes are my best quality because I have long eyelashes and I have green eyes.’ And that’s it.”
Biggest misconception about me
“A lot of people think I’m this he-man, very tough, fighting on the court and then very professional when I am doing my job. They think I’m a very stiff person in real life, which I’m quite the opposite of. Unless people know you the only thing they see of you is from the outside world, so it’s totally understandable.”