People: Maria Sharapova Reveals Her Next Chapter After Retirement from Professional Tennis: ‘I’m Excited’
It’s been six months since Maria Sharapova announced her retirement from professional tennis — but that doesn’t mean the athlete and entrepreneur is slowing down.
Sharapova, 33, has begun her new chapter in life as an investor and recently joined the tech wellness company Therabody, which is behind the hugely popular smart percussion device the Theragun, as a strategic advisor.
The five-time Grand Slam title winner was drawn to the health and wellness industry because of “all the ways it can have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives,” Sharapova tells PEOPLE, adding that she’s excited to put her passion for business to good use with the company.
“What drew me to Therabody is their amazing technology and how they are bringing a better road to recovery for all kinds of athletes,” Sharapova says. “From my very first conversations with their team, it was apparent that they had a great vision and I’m excited to work closely with them to help advise on the future growth of the company.”
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak hit the United States just weeks after Sharapova announced her retirement — but the athlete and entrepreneur has been focusing on the “silver linings” of being able to slow down a bit after years of constant travel.
“When I was competing, I’d only get to spend a few weeks of the year at home, so it’s been nice to have more time to relax, catch up with loved ones and focus on my businesses,” she says. “As much as I love to travel, not having to rush off to the next tournament has been really nice.”
Sharapova has been sheltering in place at her home in California and says that she feel “incredibly lucky” to be able to spend her extra time with her parents.
Like many people during the pandemic, Sharapova and her parents have turned to cooking as a creative outlet.
“We’ve been spending almost all of our time in the kitchen — cooking meals and baking treats, and at one point, we even pulled out an ice cream machine, which I hadn’t even taken out of the box for years,” she tells PEOPLE. “We even started growing our own garden out back — so you know things are getting serious!”
While Sharapova says that while she’s “hit balls with my friends a few times just for fun” since leaving professional tennis, she’s been enjoying finding new ways to get in her workouts. “Mainly I’ve been trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible — either doing a boxing workout on the beach or hiking some of the trails nearby,” she says.
Sharapova announced her decision to step away from tennis in February, saying at the time that she was ready to challenge herself in ways off the court.
“Tennis showed me the world — and it showed me what I was made of,” she said in her announcement in Vanity Fair. “It’s how I tested myself and how I measured my growth. And so in whatever I might choose for my next chapter, my next mountain, I’ll still be pushing. I’ll still be climbing. I’ll still be growing.”