Maria Sharapova: tennis czarina turned hotel wellness ambassador

Maria Sharapova, the Russian player and world star of women’s tennis, ended her career in 2020. She returns in 2024, as the first global wellness ambassador for the Aman hotel group. An appointment that echoes her sporting successes as much as her relentless and conscientious preparation sessions.

 

Away from the tennis courts, former world No.1 Maria Sharapova is now a wellness ambassador for Aman Hotels.

 

Working with the hotel group, the 1.88m sportswoman has co-constructed a range of rejuvenating retreats for its Amanpuri and New York establishments. The launch is scheduled for the end of February in Thailand.

 

With her athletic figure, international aura and routine workouts, Maria Sharapova seemed ideally suited to embodying the values of the hotel group, as well as helping to associate Aman’s establishments as must-haves for anyone wishing to stay in shape.

Former world number one

Her strident snarl will no longer resonate on the world’s greatest courts. “With these words, 32-year-old Maria Sharapova announced in the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair that she would be retiring from tennis in February 2020. The epilogue to a 28-year career studded with success.

 

She remains one of the very few champions to have won four Grand Slam tournaments: Wimbledon at just 17 in 2004, the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014. She also won a Masters title in 2004 and an Olympic medal in 2012.

 

In 2016, however, her career was marred by a 15-month suspension from competition following a positive drug test for meldonium. A shoulder injury prevented her from returning to the top. Dropping back to 373rd in the world rankings, she suffered four consecutive defeats, including elimination in the first rounds of the 2019 US Open against Serena Williams and the 2020 Australian Open against Croatian Donna Vekic, the last match of her career.

An embodiment of the American dream

“By giving my life to tennis, tennis has given me life,” she declared when she retired from the sport for good. Yet her Hollywood story was far from a foregone conclusion.

 

Maria Sharapova was born to Russian parents from Belarus on April 19, 1987, in Nyagan on the East Siberian plain, over 1,700 km from Moscow. She was just two years old when her parents moved to Sochi, where her father befriended Alexander Kafelnikov, father of Russian tennis player Ievgueni Kafelnikov. It was this family friend who gave Maria, then aged 4, her first tennis racket. She was later coached by a man named Louri Loudgine.

© Aman Hotels

But it was at a sporting event in Moscow that, after exchanging a few balls with champion Martina Navrátilová, she convinced the latter to send the young player to Florida, to Nick Bollettieri’s famous training camp. At the age of six, she emigrated to Florida with her father, her mother having to wait two years to join them for lack of a valid visa. With only $700 in savings, her father took on all sorts of odd jobs such as plumbing and housework to pay for his daughter’s schooling. In the United States, Maria was finally taken in by Robert Lansdorp.

It wasn’t until the age of 14 that she turned professional. At 17, she became the third-youngest tennis player in history, after Martina Hingis and Lottie Dod. She was also the very first Russian player to win the Wimbledon tournament.

Her efforts and determination have paid off. Between August 22, 2005 and June 8, 2012, she won a total of 36 titles and spent 21 weeks at the top of the world rankings.

Over the course of her career, Maria Sharapova has earned $38.8 million. A figure only surpassed in 2020 by the Williams sisters, Serena ($92.7 million and $41.8 million).

 

“One of the keys to my success has been to never look back and never look ahead,” she declares before adding, “I was convinced that if I kept fighting, I could reach an incredible level.”

Accomplished businesswoman

Maria Sharapova didn’t wait for her sporting career to come to an end, like that of her compatriot Anna Kournikova, which was much shorter, before she began to build up her image.

 

© Aman Hotels

 

The Russian star is not fooled by the fact that her success has as much to do with her sporting exploits as her dreamy good looks, a fact she fully assumes. She is quoted as saying, “Beauty sells. I know that’s part of the reason people want me, and I’m fine with that. I’m not going to make myself ugly on purpose.”

A year before her departure from the competition, the beauty was linked to Nike, Porsche, Evian and Tag Heuer.

 

First ambassador for Aman Hotels

Three hours a day, six days a week. This was the rhythm of Maria Sharapova’s training sessions when she was a tennis champion.

But as she confided to People magazine in 2019, the secret of her success on the courts also lay in her physical preparation, consisting of pilates, stretching and physioball, as well as carefully sequenced rest periods.

 

© Aman Hotels

 

As with all sportsmen and women, training is just as important as mental resilience and a sense of strategy. It’s this discipline and healthy lifestyle that Aman Hotels has sought in appointing the sportswoman the group’s wellness ambassador.

In her new role, Maria Sharapova has co-created a range of exclusive retreats and wellness programs reserved for a handful of customers.

 

The first will kick off in Phuket, Thailand, at the brand’s flagship resort, Amanpuri (literally, the place of peace). From February 21 to 24, 8 participants will enjoy three evenings of performance and recovery. The event will include group activities, a meal and a question-and-answer session with the legendary tenniswoman and other wellness experts.

For its part, the urban oasis that is Aman spa New York will be inviting guests to the same half-day program all year round. The program includes an Arva-optimized performance breakfast developed in partnership with Maria Sharapova and chef Jeremy Price, a one-hour strengthening and conditioning session in the fitness center created by the sportswoman, followed by a Banya or Hammam treatment, reflexology and Aman x 111SKIN mask, given in one of the private Aman Spa centers.

 

© Aman Hotels

The retreats are based on Aman’s holistic concept of wellness, which promotes change and longevity for each guest during their stay and beyond,” explains Kristina Romanova, CEO of Aman Essentials, the company’s lifestyle product line. She points out that each retreat has been designed “to incorporate a personalized itinerary to help travelers achieve their goals.”

Read also > HAROLD PARISOT WELCOMES TONY PARKER AT THE WESTIN VENDÔME, PARIS, FEBRUARY 2, 2024

Featured Photo: © Aman Hotels

Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance de ces secteurs, la rédaction de Luxus Magazin décrypte pour ses lecteurs les principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, les parfums et cosmétiques, l’hôtellerie, et l’immobilier de prestige.

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