Maria Sharapova, who has lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade, brought professional tennis back to the City of Angels with her inaugural Maria Sharapova + Friends, Presented by Porsche tournament, over the weekend at UCLA Tennis Center. Sharapova tapped her tennis friends Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, Kei Nishikori, Jack Sock and Madison Keys, and Hollywood pals Chelsea Handler and Will Arnett to hit the courts. Tickets to the charity event benefited her foundation.
“There hasn’t really been good tennis in L.A. for many years. I’ve traveled to a lot of events and been a part of many tournaments, so I just wanted to bring a little bit of my experience to a city that’s so sports- and entertainment-cultured to bring those two elements together,” she told WWD post-tournament. “I’ve known Chelsea for years and Will obviously didn’t look like he’s been training much, but he does play a bit of tennis,” she said of her friends, who provided more laughs than thrilling volleys during the celebrity doubles match.
“It gets quite competitive,” Sharapova said of playing against the pros. “No one wants to lose, even at a friends’ match. I think that’s why people come out to watch. It’s not just about the tennis, but a chance to get to know the players a little more.”
Sharapova said the sport has become increasingly physical over the last seven years, with players sliding on hard courts and the balls and racquets getting more high-tech. Now, during the off-season, she spends about three hours a day on the court and an hour-and-a-half at the gym, plus physical therapy and stretching.
Of her diet, the Sugarpova founder said, “I think we all know what’s good for us. I try to keep this 80-20 regimen. I love sweets and a casual meal with my friends with food that has calories. Giving yourself a break is just as important as being consistent with your diet.” Her candy company is expanding into chocolates next year.
Off-court, Sharapova wears Nike power fleece and her diamond Tag Heuer ladies’ Carrera watch (she has been the brand’s ambassador for 11 years). “I’ve been wearing it for a year now. I started with men’s-wear pieces but as I’ve gotten a little older I’ve gotten more elegant with my choices,” she said.
After she celebrates Christmas at her house, she will head to Australia for the Australian Open. “I literally live out of a suitcase. I layer a lot of pieces that are not too formal or casual that can take me through the day into the night. I’m now into more neutrals and grays and textures than I am into bold colors and prints. Everything has to work with what I bring in my suitcase.”