FT: Maria Sharapova: Candy coloured

FT: Maria Sharapova: Candy coloured

By David Hayes

The top third player in women’s tennis discusses her off-the-court style

The one exception to the current trend for wearing white may be tennis players themselves. That’s according to Maria Sharapova, the 26-year-old who’s currently ranked number three in the world. Sharapova, who also designs for Nike and is regularly seen front row at fashion shows, is taking time out from her pre-Wimbledon training to discuss her off-the-court style.

“I love to get dressed up when I have the opportunity, though on an everyday level the most exciting thing that happens to me is going out to dinner with my coach and my physio. It’s not like I’m going to pull out show-stopping outfits just for them.

“Still, I travel to some of the best cities in the world, so it would be a shame if I didn’t get to visit some stores. I have a whole list of notes in my phone of where to go – and a pretty good map in my head of my favourite stores in Paris, such as Isabel Marant, Surface to Air, Vanessa Bruno and Colette; the concept stores are really interesting.

“My earliest memories of moving [from Russia] to Florida, age nine, are of my mum going to the stores to buy something for herself. The big shopping malls were so new to me because we didn’t have anything like that back in my home town of Sochi. I was amazed by the selection, the colours. My mum would always buy classic pieces in neutral shades. That’s when I started to understand about quality, about buying something timeless you’ll have for ever. Obviously, I didn’t have any budget to buy any of it then but I just remember being so excited having a chance to look through some nice stuff. And I did like pink – it was my favourite colour for a really long time . . . though I’m sworn to neutrals now.

“My life really revolves around travelling, I live out of a suitcase, so everything that I pack has to work together. I layer a lot. I love the masculine looks of Stella McCartney tailoring. Like my mum, I’ve always thought it’s important to spend just a little bit more on tailoring because then you are always comfortable – you’re not worried about how it fits.”

And at 6ft 2in, is finding things that fit a problem? “I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge. There are so many things out there right now. And I’m also not a size zero. The higher the sizes, the ‘taller’ the things are. Though mostly I wear flats . . . ”

Given the career sidelines of peers such as Venus and Serena Williams, has she considered her own fashion line? “I thought about it but I wanted to do something unexpected.” Cue Sugarpova: high-end gummy chews and gumballs (£3.99) that sell though Selfridges in London and Colette in Paris.

“As I’m an athlete, I think it took many people by surprise,” she says. “I’ve had a sweet tooth since I was very young and the whole idea was doing something that was unique.” Still, there are plans to move “into cosmetics and beauty products, maybe clothing.”

For now, though, it’s all about the candy. The best sellers so far? The tennis ball-shaped gumballs, of course.