Former Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova announced last month that she is pregnant with her first child in an Instagram post. Sharapova, who won the French Open twice and all the other Grand Slams once, was also an Olympic silver medalist.
In an interview with Tom Bilyeu in 2017 to promote her book, Unstoppable: My Story So Far, Sharapova spoke of several challenges she faced as a young player. Bilyeu asked Sharapova about the possibility of her future child becoming a tennis player. The Russian expressed her reservations about wanting her child to be a tennis player given what she went through to become a tennis player.
When asked how she would help her daughter focus if she wanted to play tennis, Maria Sharapova’s answer was instant.
“Oh, I hope not.”
The Russian, who retired in 2020, reflected on the downsides of being a professional tennis player. She spoke of the uncertainty of making it to the tennis circuit and the emotional lows that came with tough losses.
“It’s a lot. I mean you go through so many unknowns. And there is also the reality of it. There are sometimes moments when I come off the court after a tough loss. And, I sit there in the locker room and I think, why,” the Russian said.
“Why am I putting myself through this emotion. I mean I went through the physical training for it and then I give everything I can and I am sitting here like with no rewards,” Sharapova added.
Maria Sharapova, who became the first Russian woman ever to become World No. 1 at the age of 18 opined that the mental ability to be able to shake off a tough defeat and return to the courts is something that one has to be born with.
“But, then the next day I wake up and I want to get back on the court to improve. But not everyone has this mentality. And, I think the real answer is that it’s tough to train that mentality. I do believe, a lot of it you have to be born with. Just because I am a tennis player and I have done well in my career, does not mean that my future child will,” Sharapova said.
She added that if she had to, she’d provide experience and support to her future child if required, but that it’d still be a tough experience.
“In terms of experience and helping her, I would love to, but to go through it again? That’d be tough.”
No one told me I have to commit myself to tennis or to go for practice, but I enjoyed it: Maria Sharapova on playing tennis as a kid
Maria Sharapova, who attended Martina Navaratilova’s tennis clinic in Moscow at the age of six, subsequently trained with coach Nick Bollittieri in Florida.
The 2006 US Open champion, who announced her engagement to Alexander Gilkes in 2020, stressed that she was never asked to commit herself to tennis as a child but loved the practice sessions.
Maria Sharapova described proceeding with tennis practice as a 5-year-old despite having a broken fingernail due to slipping and falling. She recalled seeing “blood everywhere” and missing a fingernail when she got back up from her fall.
“My father and I, we were headed to our morning practice and we were living in Sochi, Russia. We were going to the public bus transporation and its a 20-minute walk from the apartment building to the bus. The roads are not great there. I slipped and I fell, I got back up again and then I just see blood everywhere and I look at my nail and my fingernail is not there,” Sharapova said.
“We have to go and do it. I just walked down that hill. I am not going back up the hill just for nothing. No one ever told me that I have to commit myself to the sport or I have to go and practice. But, I did enjoy it,” Sharapova added.