Sharapova designs strategy for success

From catwalk to tennis court, Russia's former world No 1 has a winning look

Flushing Meadows

They were 12 hours that encapsulated the double lives of Maria Sharapova. At 9pm on Thursday evening the 24-year-old Russian, dressed to the nines, was showcasing her autumn clothing collection in one of the swish fashion shops in the heart of New York's SoHo district. At 9am the next morning the world No 4 was out on a practice court at Flushing Meadows, belting the ball as if there were no tomorrow.

There have been times in the past three years, as she struggled to recover from shoulder surgery, when you wondered whether Sharapova's future might lie on the catwalk or in the design studios rather than on the tennis court, but this summer has underlined her determination to continue living her parallel lives to the full.

Having followed the best clay-court season of her career, including a run to the French Open semi-finals, with her first appearance in the Wimbledon final since her breakthrough victory seven years ago, the former world No 1 goes into this week's US Open as second favourite behind the ultimate comeback queen, Serena Williams. Last weekend's win in Cincinnati, where Sharapova beat four players ranked in the world's top 15, confirmed that she is close to recapturing the form that made her the world's best player.

"I was faced with adversity a few times in my career and through injury, and I've had to make many decisions on how to move forward and how to make myself a better player," Sharapova said. "So to be in these stages of tournaments, it's gratifying and means a lot to me. My motivation this year and my level out on the practice courts and little things have definitely stepped up from the past year.

"I think little by little, with some luck and hard work, things sometimes go more your way than others. But it's a life of an athlete. One day everything is great and one day something can happen, so I think I try to be level-headed on many things that come my way – wins, losses, injuries, personal things. It's just about keeping a pretty streamlined life."

Does she feel she is back to her best? "I think it's always difficult to compare. You're at different stages in your life and your career. I was much younger when I achieved my first success, so it's tough to compare those moments. I'm definitelyon the right track, in the right direction. I feel like I'm improving."

While Sharapova is at her highest place in the world rankings since shoulder surgery in October 2008, her position as the world's highest- paid sportswoman has been unchallenged for seven years. The latest analysis of sport's top earners published in Forbes magazine estimated her annual earnings at $25 million (about £15.4m), double those of the second woman on the list, her fellow tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

Attractive sportswomen have long been a target for fashion designers looking to promote their products, but Sharapova is different to many in that she takes a keen interest in every aspect of the business, from the design through to manufacturing and even shop-floor sales.

Her deal with Cole Haan – the American clothing, shoe, handbag and accessory designer for which she launched her autumn range last week – is structured so that her own rewards rise along with the company's success.

Twenty-four hours before her SoHo appearance Sharapova had been in a smart hotel in Midtown Manhattan launching a range of bags she helped design for Head, her racket manufacturer. Sitting alongside her stablemate, Novak Djokovic, Sharapova explained her part in the project.

"I was very hands-on in the process," she said. "One of the things I wanted to have was my own collection, with a few different pieces in it. I was involved in everything from the shape, to the material, to the logo, to the lining in the bag, to everything the bag comes with, including the shoe bag inside. I was involved with every detail."

For now, the fashion icon will step aside to let the tennis player take centre stage, even if Sharapova's first appearance on court – against Britain's Heather Watson – is guaranteed to attract the style watchers keen to see her New York outfit. But for the return of Williams, Sharapova would be the favourite to repeat her 2006 triumph here, when she dropped one set in the whole tournament and beat the world's top two players, Amélie Mauresmo and Justine Henin. She would welcome the chance to test herself against Williams, whom she can only meet in the final.

"To be honest, I love playing against her," Sharapova said. "We've had very, very tough matches against each other. I don't have a great record against her and I would love to change that."

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil