Maria Sharapova left professional tennis with a lot of love for the sport still in her heart, and she’s grateful for that.
The 34-year-old announced her plans to retire in February 2020, just after the Australian Open and ahead of the start of now nearly two years of disruption to the sports world due to the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout her career, she won five Grand Slam women’s singles tournaments.
“I left the sport being in a very good place about my decision,” she tells PEOPLE now while chatting about her years-long partnership with Evian. “So I haven’t thought about that too much, but I still very much love watching the sport and following players.”
Reflecting now, Sharapova can’t ignore the strength and perseverance it took her to navigate formidable opponents and years in the spotlight.
“Overall, I was very proud of the way that I carried myself through my career, of how I handled many moments in my career, whether they were tough moments, whether they were some of the best moments of my life,” Sharapova says with confidence. “I think my philosophy was to try to be as level-headed and not get too down or overly celebratory because life changes so quickly.”
It’s something the world has obviously seen in the past two years through the pandemic: “Things just change and you have to be able to take it with as much ease as you can, even though that’s so much easier to say than to do.”
For 28 years, Sharapova says she gave everything “physically and mentally” to the sport, making for an amazing journey. The day-to-day slowdown of life the pandemic has brought on some of this reflection she admits, giving the now-businesswoman time to “appreciate.”
“But it’s also left me really excited about the future,” she says, adding, “it’s a mix of this proud, but also excited for what’s to come.”
What’s to come also includes wedding bells: Sharapova confirmed her engagement to British businessman and co-founder of online auction house Paddle 8, Alexander Gilkes, in December of last year.
Stefanos Tsitsipas claims innocence after Andy Murray vents anger at…….
Stefanos Tsitsipas denied bending the rules with his bathroom breaks during his dramatic five-set victory over Andy Murray at the US Open.
Scot Murray, 34, blasted the Greek third seed for the “nonsense” and said he had lost respect for him after Tsitsipas disappeared off court for almost eight minutes at the start of the fifth set.
However, after closing out a 2-6 7-6 (7) 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over the 2012 champion in just less than five hours, Tsitsipas said: “If there’s something that he has to tell me, we should speak, the two of us, to kind of understand what went wrong.
I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines
“I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines, how everything is. I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority.
“As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, then the rest is fine. I have nothing against him. Absolutely nothing.”
Murray’s defeat, and that of Marin Cilic, who had to retire at two sets all against Philipp Kohlschreiber, means there is only one player left in the men’s draw to have won a grand slam title – the 20-time major winner Novak Djokovic.
Daniil Medvedev, the second seed from Russia, got his bid for a maiden grand slam title off to a confident start by beating Richard Gasquet in straight sets.
The 25-year-old roared past Frenchman Gasquet 6-4 6-3 6-1 in less than two hours.
RBA drops just games to advance to Round 2.
Nick Kyrgios won just seven games as his campaign came to an end at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut.
Australian Kyrgios threw in his usual tweeners and underarm serves but Bautista Agut, the unflappable 18th seed from Spain, was too solid as he ran out 6-3 6-4 6-0 winner.
Andrey Rublev, the Russian fifth seed, is safely through after a straight-sets win over Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic.
Usain Bolt reveals he’s ‘always’ had a crush on Beyoncé and he was starstruck to meet her
He may hold the title as the fastest man in the world, but even Usain Bolt gets nervous once in a while, especially when it comes to meeting beautiful women. Speaking to Lorraine Kelly on Friday morning, the nine-time Olympic gold medallist revealed that he has a crush on none other than Beyoncé.
The sporting legend revealed his celebrity crush live on Lorraine
“Because I was always a fan, I’ve always had a crush on Beyoncé, so I’ve always had a conversation I would have [in my head] and when I met her I was like [stares open-eyed] ‘hi’,” he told the day time host. “I could tell I was looking at her weird because she was looking at me like, ‘why is he staring at me’. It was fun though.”
President Obama also has an affect on the 30-year-old, who admitted: “When I met Obama that was also massive for me.”
Usain was on Lorraine to chat about his new documentary I Am Bolt, which follows the sporting legend in the 18 months leading up to his historical Olympic triple win in Rio this year.
Talking about his training, Usain revealed: “People always say, ‘you make it look so easy, I could probably do it’ and I’m like, ‘no, no’. So to make people see the work that I put in and the strain that goes in, mentally and physically. I wanted people to see all of that so they could understand me better and to see the work I put in is no joke.”
The Olympic champion also shut down rumours that he was engaged to his main crush, girlfriend of two years, Kasi Bennett, following a heavily hinted Snapchat image of the couple on holiday. The sweet snap was accompanied by the caption “She said yes”, complete with emojis of a bride and a love heart.
“I’m not engaged. Me and my girlfriend, we went on a trip to Bora Bora and we took a picture and somebody edited my Snapchat, and edited it, and it said, ‘she said yes’ with a ring and a mad face and stuff and I was like [shocked face], it was well done though. It was well done, you know what I mean,” he explained.
Despite there being no talk of wedding bells anytime soon, it hasn’t stopped Usain’s mum from hoping she will be a grandmother in the near future. “My mum is pressuring me. I was like, ‘mum just let me retire and I’ll get there,'” he said.
Unbelievable: Maria Sharapova says she got mobbed in the Olympic village cafeteria
Many players prefer not to stay at the Olympic village as other athletes tend to get a little star struck at coming face to face with high profile superstars. Maria Sharapova got a taste of this herself when she went into the cafeteria at the Olympic village.
Sharapova is the highest earning female athlete in the world and a global superstar. “I’m usually pretty naïve about like people’s knowledge of me, my career, what I’ve achieved,” Sharapova told the press after her first round win on Sunday in London.
“I try to be pretty humble about it, but the biggest mistake I’ve made in a long time was entering the cafeteria. I didn’t walk out eating any food. I barely got an orange juice. It was quite funny. Actually, I didn’t sign any autographs, it was just pictures. I felt like a little statue.”