Maria Sharapova at White Rabbit.jpg

Maria Sharapova at The White Rabbit in Singapore. Image: herworldPLUS

When you’re under a lot pressure, a good sense of humour may just tide you through; a tactic that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova appears to be quite familiar with.

Currently in Singapore for the BNP Paribas Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals 2014, the sporting star still knows how to take the mickey out of herself; like in the surreal moment where a statuesque celebrity can go almost unnoticed on an airplane.

“I was sitting on the plane flying from Beijing from my previous tournament in China,” shares Maria Sharapova. “And I happened to be sitting behind someone who was reading about me in Chinese. I didn’t know what the article was but I just took my phone up and took a picture and it became quite popular on my Twitter account.”

In Singapore however, Sharapova is far from likely to go unnoticed. She was swarmed by fans at an Evian and Tag Heuer private party on October 15, 2014 during her brief hour there. On that same night, she was similarly received by starstruck shoppers who queued to see her at her Sugarpova candy line launch at Robinsons The Heeren. Just yesterday, the star even played tennis in heels for a Porsche event.

Not that she minds the action-packed schedule nor the horde of fans; the star says she relishes every moment of it, when we had spoke to her at the Evian and Tag Heuer party that Wednesday evening.

“I think that’s why I’ve been successful as I don’t set myself limits to what I can do,” says Sharapova. “I enjoy the things that I do.”

Here, she tells us more about the surprising things that terrify her, as well as the possibility of Maria Sharapova-branded fashion in the near future.

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Maria Sharapova at the Evian and Tag Heuer party in Singapore. Image: herworldPLUS

1. She hates that dentist visit as much as you do
Compared to all the pressure she faces on the courts, it turns out that this tennis player’s biggest fears may be more “everyday” than you would expect. “Usually it’s the little things that scares me the most like bugs or going to a dentist,” laughs the star.

2. Her stress-coping tip: To see every challenge as a “reward”
The tennis star concedes that “pressure is a big part of [her] life”; she copes with it by seeing every match that she plays as a “reward” for her efforts.

“It’s always about how you prepare yourself and how you handle it mentally and accept the challenge in front of you,” explains the star. “When I walk out to the court, [the match] is for all that I’ve worked for. I spend so many hours training for it, so it’s a really nice reward. That’s how I position it in my mind to make myself feel better.”

3. She may just launch her own fashion line soon
“I love fashion very much,” proclaims the star. “It’s such an individual expression of who you are.” In fact, you may just get to see Sharapova delve more deeply into fashion soon enough, through her candy brand Sugarpova. “I’ll like to build Sugarpova into a lifestyle brand in the future,” shares Sharapova. “To do other things like clothes and accessories; not just candy when I have more time on my hands.”

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Maria Sharapova at the launch of her candy brand Sugarpova at Robinsons The Orchard. Image: herworldPLUS

As the savvy businesswoman she is, Sharapova knows that she’s already got one foot into the fashion game, what with her shoe and bag collaborative collection with Cole Haan as well as an apparel line with Nike. Her ongoing endorsements with brands including Tag Heuer also mean she’s often in the limelight while jetting from one city to another. “I’ve been working with Tag Heuer since I was seventeen years old,” shares Sharapova. “They’re the first ones to introduce me to the fashion world, to the biggest names in the world.” 

4. She loves men’s watches
In news that would hardly surprise anyone, Maria Sharapova has collected “dozens” of Tag Heuer watches during the last 10 years that she has been its brand ambassador.

Her preferred watch styles from the Swiss watch brand however, may surprise you. “I’ve always liked bigger pieces, the men’s pieces,” shares the star. “My all-time favourite is the Tag Heuer Men’s Carrera watch. I think it would be because I’m a tall girl and I like big chunky accessories. They’re statement pieces you can wear on its own, carry it from day to night.”

She adds there’s a pragmatic and stylish aspect to keeping a watch as her travel must-have. “When you are on the road for so many weeks, there’s only so many key pieces that you travel with,” says Sharapova. “And a watch has always been my go-to ever since I was a teenager.”

5. She’s even starred in a music video
Sharapova is also one of the faces for French mineral water brand Evian’s “Live Young” campaign and thanks to that, you’ll catch a glimpse — however fleeting — of her in Rizzle Kicks “Tell Her” music video.

“It was a really fun idea by Evian to include me in the music video,” says the star. “It’s for a young British band Rizzle Kicks, we had a lot of fun with them. It’s only a few seconds of me in the video because I don’t have so much time to film with them. But it’s fun to be part of little projects here and there.”

Catch Maria Sharapova in action at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore to be held from October 17 to 26, 2014 at the Indoor Stadium at the Sports Hub.