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How tennis convinced new mom Maria Sharapova to keep her baby on track

How tennis convinced new mom Maria Sharapova to keep her baby on track
How tennis convinced new mom Maria Sharapova to keep her baby on track

 


Maria Sharapova didn't become the Wimbledon champion and the number one tennis player in the world without knowing a lot about discipline, focus and yes, the power of a schedule.

So when the former tennis champion, who won Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17, welcomed her son Theo with her fiancé Alexander Gilkes in 2022, she understood how helpful sticking to a routine can be.

“I think in some ways there were so many elements of my sport that I could apply to motherhood,” she tells PEOPLE.

“Just the discipline of the schedules and routines and seeing the benefit of that through their behavior and through their eyes also helped a lot. When I was playing, I knew where I was going to be and when I was going to take a nap and when I would eat helped me a lot with my energy.”

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Maria Sharapova and son Theo.

Maria Sharapova/Instagram


Of course, at this point she knows that when it comes to children, you can go ahead best to stick to a routine, but you also have to be willing to go with the flow.

“We are doing our best!” she says, noting that the couple travels a lot and finds routines helpful, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

“It's constantly evolving into new phases, so I feel like once you get into a certain routine it can go out the window,” she says. “So you're constantly adapting to new circumstances, new phases of development. You just have to recognize that it's constantly changing.”

It turns out her skills on the court have been useful in that arena as well. “I think as an athlete it was crucial to be able to pivot,” she says.

Sharapova, who has been playing competitive tennis since the age of four and is now a highly successful entrepreneur and brand ambassador, decided to retire in 2020 after suffering from constant shoulder pain.

Maria Sharapova and Alexander Gilkes attend the 2021 Met Gala.

Taylor Hill/WireImage


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But she was also ready to explore parenthood. I don't know if a woman ever knows when it's time to enter a new phase of motherhood, but I feel like I made the choice at the right time, she says. I feel like I have a healthy distance from tennis. I was ready for a new chapter in life.

And is there any chance she will be at Wimbledon this summer? It is possible!

“We've been spending more time in California since we had our son, as well as my fiancé's British one,” she says. “So we spend the summers in Europe.”

Although she wouldn't say who she is rooting for, Sharapova said she was excited to watch Coco Gauff win the 2023 US Open.

“I saw Coco win, which was spectacular. I saw her first match and then I went back home and thought, 'Okay, I have to go to the Open because she's all the way to the final now.' I think it took a long time, so I felt like I really wanted to experience that moment for her.”

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