Tennis is the priority for Maria Sharapova right now, but the former Wimbledon champion says she’ll be ready for a new career when it’s time to hang up the rackets.
The 16th-seeded Sharapova, who has struggled with injury but now appears healthy and resurgent, advanced to the third round at the All England Club on Thursday with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Romania’s Ioana Raluca Olaru.
Off the court, she pursues an interest in fashion, promotes her own perfume brand and has a multitude of endorsements that make her one of the most highly paid athletes in the world.
“I’ve set up myself pretty well for things that I can do after my tennis career,” said Sharapova, who had a 10-month layoff after right shoulder surgery in 2008. “But that never really crossed my mind because I was always gearing up to get back. You know, I’ve been fortunate to work with different people in different industries that have really made my life interesting and fun and creative.”
Against 114th-ranked Olaru, the 2004 champion won 20 of 23 points at the net, breezing through the first set but meeting more resistance in the second. Olaru broke back in the eighth game to level the set but handed the advantage back to the Russian player in the following game with a double fault.
“I kind of backed up, let her back in the match,” said Sharapova, the only champion in the women’s draw other than the Williams sisters. “Fortunately, I was able to get that break back.”
Sharapova said she felt “really good” about her fitness.
“We’re professional athletes. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Everything feels perfect,’” Sharapova said. “Maybe when we’re very young.”
“I knew that coming into this match that last year, I was on the plane the next day after I lost,” she said. “So, I really thought about it, especially towards the end of the match. I was really excited to get through.”
Keywords: 2010 Wimbledon