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Maria Sharapova on the Keys to Building Grit and Discipline | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Maria Sharapova on the Keys to Building Grit and Discipline".
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I mean, Andre Agassi had the school. You don't have to be better than everyone else in the draw when you go out on the court. Like, you have to be better than someone that's across the net. And whether that is at a very high level, whether that's at a low level, whatever it is, it doesn't matter. You can't be great every single day. Like, there's only a handful of times where I've gone on the court and felt like, I did everything well. - Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You were here, my friends, because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it. So our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today's guest is one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Maria Sharapova'S Life And Career
Introducing Maria Sharapova (00:44)
And her real life story reads like a work of Russian literature. Her mother spent several months while pregnant, living in the literal shadow of the Chernobyl disaster. And after moving to the US during the collapse of the Soviet Union, when she was just six years old, her will, determination, and skill began to capture people's attention immediately. Despite not speaking a word of English, five minutes on the court with this six year old wonderkind convinced an elite tennis camp to give her a scholarship and the string of both good and bad luck that followed is truly stranger than fiction. But she worked her ass off day and night, year after year, her father sacrificing and doing whatever he had to to make sure she could blossom into the player that he believed she could become. And my God, was he ever right about her potential? She turned pro at just 14 years of age and her love of the sport, an absolute maniacal focus on winning pushed her forward at blinding speed. And she erupted out of obscurity at 17 with a victory over Serena Williams in the Wimbledon finals. While some relax in victory, she does not. Her hunger to win only seemed to increase with each victory as she climbed the ranks, ultimately becoming the first Russian woman to ascend to the sport's top ranking in 2005, a position she has held many times since. Almost certainly, assured a spot in the Hall of Fame, she's already won five Grand Slams, a silver medal in the Olympics, and spent an untold number of years as the highest paid female athlete, period. She's worked with iconic brands such as Nike, Avon, Porsche, and many more. So please help me in welcoming the tennis icon and author of Unstoppable My Life So Far, the indomitable Maria Sharapova. - Thank you, that was great, Angel. - Thank you so much. - Thank you for being here. - I feel like you should have written the intro to the book. I was like, so all said, yes. - Well, speaking-- - For the next one. - Yes, definitely. - A few years, we still have a few years. - I truly hope you were right. That would be amazing. - That was a long process. I told myself, I'm definitely giving myself a few more years until I have a right another one. - I think that's pretty fair. - Yeah. - Speaking though of the intro to your book, I think a cool place to start would be, do you remember the quote from Nelson Mandela that you put? - Yes, well, I start with a Nelson Mandela quote because I've always believed that his quotes were about living life, not through just the eyes of success, but through the eyes of someone that, you know, is knocked down many times, faces adversity and gets back up. And it's a very singular direct quote, but it really resonates as I was writing the book. And I didn't have a title at the beginning of when I started the book. And as I was writing and I was speaking to my father and all the figures in my life and all the obstacles that we have overcame, I just seemed inevitable that unstoppable was going to be the title. - It's an awesome title.
Tell people what the quote is specifically, and especially now in your, this part of your career, why was it so resonant? - Specifically word for word, I don't know, but don't judge me by my successes, judge me by the times that I fell down and got back up again. - Yeah, exactly. So now obviously what you're going through, you've struggled with injury, you had the suspension, you're back, how do you want to be remembered for that period? And then what is it, what have you been focusing on to get going again? - You can't really form other people's opinions of you. And I became successful at a very young age and I like from the first day after winning Wimbledon, you know, you would think like a teenager wins Wimbledon, but not everyone was positive about it. Everyone wanted to know the story and you know, blaming my parents for having their child to go through this crazy journey and working hard and not having a normal childhood. Like everyone is always going to find something in your success or in your story or upbringing that will try to knock you down, like literally, whether it's their purpose, whether it's a news outlet, whatever it might be, you never know the intention. But yeah, I don't want to form people's opinion. I just want to be and live true to who I am every day and then that's the only thing that I can do. You can't really control what other people think of you or how they end up remembering you. - Yeah, it's a good point. You've talked about that, like not wanting to get too obsessed with legacy or thinking about that. - Yeah, I'm just not like, it's a question I get asked a lot about legacy, like, how do you want to finish your career?
Legacy and Happiness (05:29)
And I don't know, I've been fortunate to set my life up and away now where I've achieved a lot and maybe when you're young you've said goals and like, you know, I want to, in order to prove myself and what I can do, I want to win a grand slam and I want to back it up and I want to get to number one in the world, but eventually like, you need to play for other things and you know, I don't see myself saying, this is what I want to stop, I want to reach that because that's also scary, like what happens if you do? Like, is that, are you limiting yourself? So, so for me it's not about like a particular goal. It's an evolution. - What are you playing for now? Like, what is that driver? - I think it's an internal feeling. You know, happiness for me is, of course, lifting a trophy is like, that's, it's a goal and that's what you want and your team and yourself, you work towards getting that but it's not always, it's like the moments, maybe the days after where you're just by yourself and like, you wake up in those first few moments where you realize like, what you achieved and your body is so sore and you feel like you've just given everything you could physically to get to that point and it's so rewarding because you see this little replica next to you of a trophy and it's nice. Those are the feelings. Like, I don't know if an internal happiness can be taken on a picture. You know, like we have, our whole life is like, surrounded by pictures and like smiles and, you know, frowns and good angles of a face or, you know, a filter but it's very rare that the people in those pictures are truly happy and so, I don't know, I don't want to identify those moments. I think sometimes they come like as a surprise but I do, you know, one of my wishes for myself is that I notice those moments 'cause sometimes we don't. Like I look back and I think, wow, I was like, I don't know, I built a home a couple of years ago and I had, it wasn't like a welcoming party but I had people over, I moved to a bigger home and so, I don't know, it felt like, when I was getting ready, I had my music on and I was like dancing around in my room by myself and it was like, internally, I was just so extremely grateful that I was able to invite all these people and they were coming to my home and we were gonna party and, you know, that's like that but in that moment, it almost felt like every other day and so sometimes I wish that I recognize, I think recognize the right word that this is a pretty special moment. - Why do you think you don't recognize? Is it that you're just caught up in what you're trying to do? - I think so, I think our, my life is very busy. Sometimes I don't think I settle down and I think about what is actually important. - It's interesting, I'm super conflicted about that because as somebody, so reading your book, it resonated with me in ways that I can't begin to tell you from the title of just wanting myself to be unstoppable and I'm gonna read a quote from the book in a second but I'm somebody that I always wanna move the goal post, right? So once I've accomplished something, I mean, just like you were saying, you win that first one, now you wanna win another Grand Slam, you really wanna just keep going bigger and bigger. But I love that. Like I like the way that makes me feel. Not even the having it, having the guts to want it, having the guts to go after it, to constantly move the goal post. - Well, what if you didn't get, like what if you had a goal and you didn't achieve it, how would it make you feel? - Because I always think of one, to understand that one of my fundamental beliefs is that it is possible, maybe not likely, but it's possible I'll live forever. Because I think like that, I always, and the reason that I allowed myself to become obsessed with that is 'cause it always meant that there was gonna be time, right? That there always be time, if I fail this time. - An opportunity, right, there will be a chance. - So I may have failed now, but like I can get up and do it again. And my team knows very well about myself. I don't judge myself by what I accomplish, I judge myself by what I'm sincerely willing to pursue. - Exactly. - And that's where it gets exciting. But I wanna read a quote from your book, which when I read this, I was like, all right, she's my kind of peeps. I can get fancy and sweet about it. But at the bottom, my motivation is simple. I want to beat everyone. - Yeah. I think that was a little bit of my Russian character coming out. It's like, just straight to the point. Yeah, it's really, that's what it's about.
Winning grand slams (09:58)
And I've had several conversations like with different people in my life. And when they asked me about goals and victories, and even when I interviewed the coach that's coaching me now, I didn't know him very well. I knew that he was a coach that's been on tour for a long time. But, you know, our first conversation, he asked me, 'cause he had a long time job that was in which he was comfortable in. He was making good money. Didn't really need the change. And it wasn't so much that I needed to convince him, but he also didn't wanna be part of this, like, farewell tour, 'cause I'm toward the end of my career. And so he asked me what I wanted, you know, what I was still playing for. Like, is it another Grand Slam, or is it just to get back to number one, and then just call it quits, end on a high note. And I was like, I don't know. I thought he asked me a silly question, 'cause I was like, what do you mean? I just wanna win. Like, what do you mean what I'm doing this for? I just wanna win. If that's no matter where that is, a Grand Slam. And that's the attitude that I think it's important for me to carry on as I continue, is that, 'cause of course, Grand Slams are important. Like, that is where I wanna be, that is where I wanna perform at my best. But people that buy a ticket in the middle of nowhere in a country at a smaller tournament, or at an exhibition, wanna see my name with the way that I play and the way that I compete, no matter if it's a Grand Slam, or a smaller tournament, or an exhibition that doesn't mean anything at the end of the day. So, and maybe it's also 'cause I just don't know how to play any differently, or like, it's just, this is me and this is what you're going to get. - Yeah, I love that. - And that's really the way that, as I wrote the book, that's really the frame of mind that I wanted to have. And I think that's important, especially when you're writing a memoir. - So, talking about your frame of mind, which I found really, really interesting, and you've talked about it saying, I have something else. It isn't just the work ethic. In fact, I'm gonna paraphrase, but this is gonna be really close. Everyone that plays tennis has work ethic, so that isn't what separated me from everybody else. What separated me from everybody else was that other thing. What is that other thing? - I always think there are, there are things that just can't be measured. Like, I don't know if they're in thin air, or they're another planet, or what, but there are, and a lot of sports are measured by numbers. So you have statistics, and you have all the point percentages, and like, I'll talk to my coach, and he'll show me actual patterns of a player, or where they serve, so I'm aware of it in a match, and all that is important.
Use instinct and experience (12:20)
But when you're deep in a match, or you're deep in a third set, like so much is, you rely some, or I do, on my mind, and what I believe is right in that moment, and my instinct. And whether it's the repetition that I've formed with all the years that I've played, or it's the discipline that I've formed, or it's just the experience that we'll kick in. No, numbers are important, and you must rely on them, but there are things that, like, you don't, I mean, Andre Agassi had the school, you don't have to be better than everyone else in the draw when you go out on the court. Like, you have to be better than someone that's across the net. And whether that is at a very high level, whether that's at a low level, whatever it is, it doesn't matter. You can't be great every single day. Like, there's only a handful of times where I've gone on the court and felt like, I did everything well. You know, it's impossible. - Yeah, that's that whole concept of any given Sunday, right? Like, no matter what the odds, if you can, at that moment, dig in and outperform, and that to me really does come down to mindset. And you've talked about building your mindset, reading the book though, there are some examples where I was like, whoa, this is like a little kid showing a level of grit and tenacity that I've never seen. Like, I didn't have at that age.
Sharapovas tenacity (13:45)
I was ashamed of myself and be really honest with you. Talk to us about when you ripped off your fingernail and how you reacted and how old you were. - I think I was around five, five and a half, I know. - Believing everywhere, by the way, five and a half, ribs are fingernail off. - So my father and I, we were headed to our, my morning practice and we were living in Sochi, Russia. And we were going to the public bus transportation and it's like a 20 minute walk from the apartment building to the bus. And I don't know, and there's, I mean, the roads are not great there, they're better now, but still not great. And no, I slipped, I fell and I got back up again and then I just see like blood everywhere and I look at my nail and my fingernail is like not there. And I was like, hmm, well this is a problem, but like we have practice and my dad's like, oh no, we have to go back. And he was like, your mom's going to be so mad at me if I take you to practice with blood everywhere. And I was like, no, we have practice, like we have to go and do it. Like I'm not, I just walked down that hill, I'm not going back up the hill this morning. So I'm not like no one, no one really told me, you know, that I have to commit myself to the sport or I have to go and practice.
Using repetition and discipline (15:07)
But I really, I did enjoy it and I did like it. And at five years old, like there's not, there's not much that you know of a player or who they can become, but I think you do have a mindset and no one really told me that, you know, I had to think that way. - It's interesting. So a lot of times when people play at a really high level, they actually have, they almost believe that they just are a certain way. And one thing that I saw in some of the talks you've given and even just now you've said things like, develop instead of, you know, I just am. And one of the things you said in the book, which is really fascinating, was the repetition created discipline. What did you mean by that? How have you leveraged that in your life? And like how does that serve you when you're down and you just have to keep playing your all in every set? - I do think that with, and it's not just in sport, but with other things, I do believe that the more you repeat certain things, whether it is writing, working on your, you know, whether it's cursive letters or whatever it is, like when you work on something and you keep doing it over and over, it's inevitable that it will get better. And by that you're creating this feeling of repetition which leads to discipline. Like you know you can do it over and over again. And that's one of my first coaches, Robert Landzdorf, who I speak about in the book, like that was his philosophy is you, I would take a lesson from him and his philosophy was just hitting and grinding and it wasn't about patterns or anything, which you know, I could get from somebody else. But what he gave me is that feeling that I could hit the ball from any part of the court and feel like I could do it with closed eyes and make it and know exactly where it's going. And for me it started a young age, like my mom would make me memorize this Russian literature that I did not appreciate at five years old. It was very difficult and I didn't know what it meant. But I would do it and I would memorize it and then I would feel that I accomplished something. I don't know why, I don't know, but the repetition led me to this discipline. And I think that helps with mindset.
Your dad (17:29)
- What are, so hearing you talk about that, like it is inescapable to hear your story, whether you're telling it or you're just looking from the outside, it's really inescapable to not talk about your parents. - Your dad is like such a cool figure in your memoir. And I think the scene that like really, where I wanted to like stand up and clap is when he talks the guy into the visas. Like what, so forget, one easy question to ask is why was he so hell bent to get you into tennis? Why did he believe so early that you could be great? I mean, like even if he saw talent, it's still a huge stretch that you'll become the best in the world, right? So even forgetting that that plays out for a second. How does he like actually get it? We're in the collapse of the Soviet Union. He walks into Gittaviz, which they don't give out. And he convinced, I mean, and you literally give the dialogue, he convinces the guy to give him the visa. What is it about your dad that tenacity being convincing? Like what is he created in himself that's allowed him to go as far as he's gone? - I must have been four or five years old and he was reading an article about Anna Kornikova, who was back then, you know, a very popular figure in Russia. And one of the first few that really brought tennis on a map then, 'cause it wasn't, I mean, tennis was not popular at all and one of the reasons why we left to the United States. But he saw in a newspaper, and it was a short paragraph it said that Anna Kornikova won some tournament somewhere in Florida. And he looked at that and he's like, well, my daughter can win this tournament. And part of it is his competitiveness, is like, he had already started playing tennis and he's like, my daughter can be better. And then I think it was also going to Moscow for a clinic that Martina and Iverta Lova held and she was a legend and is a legend. And getting her to single me out out of so many kids that were there and saying to my father that your girl has talent and you should do something about it, I think was very eye-opening for him. And then going back to Sochi, realizing that there was no potential of growth there for my tennis career. And then, you know, reading about Florida, all the academies that were there, all the players that were developing their games from out other countries. And that was a kiss sign. He believed in signs and he still does. You know, it's like the Russian superstitious mentality. - Do you think your dad's a dreamer? - He doesn't strike me as a dreamer. That's not how I see myself. - He doesn't strike me as a dreamer, obviously. I don't know him, but reading about it, he doesn't strike me as a dreamer. But what is so, your story is so weird. - I think a dreamer, well, the reason I say is not, 'cause a dreamer doesn't resonate to be a realist. I think a dreamer sometimes goes, you know, and this make believe goes around this make believe world. My dad was very much like a realist. He's very smart in like understanding the reality of things. But he also took a lot of chance and he gave himself to give that chance. 'Cause if you really thought about it, I mean, you think that he's crazy and he was crazy. So think of himself as stupid. And so he really didn't want to think about it too much. He was like, this is what I believe in and I'm gonna go for it. - What you said in the book is it's gut over the head, right? So like you said, if he'd stopped and thought about it, he would realize, okay, this doesn't make any sense. So I'm just gonna trust my gut. But what's so interesting, and this is why your story is so crazy and it reads like a Hollywood screenplay, the visa officer that he meets has a daughter who plays tennis. - Right. - And so he says like, look, I think my daughter is great, but I don't think that she's a prodigy. How are you sure you're not just looking at your daughter with the eyes of a father? - Yeah. - So how do you think your dad had the, what I'll call guts to keep pushing like at every turn to just keep, it's so entrepreneurial is the word that I would use. - Yeah, I guess in this day and age you can say. I would say that he also struggled with working different jobs and trying to find a better way and a better opportunity for his family. And there's no doubt that he saw an opportunity in this as well. But on the other side, like he knew he had, I mean, he had to go into the visa office and convince this individual. So if he had a chance, like he had to be strong and he had to like stand up for himself in that moment. - So you've obviously become very famous for treating tennis like it's your job, that the locker room is your office, you're there to get work done.
How have you cultivated that mindset? You had a coach if I'm not mistaken who said, there's your game and there's your game. And that you got very good, very young at both. - What did he mean? What are the two games? - Well, I think when I first arrived in the States, I was very isolated from the rest of the kids and because when I was always younger than them, I would always play up in the divisions. When I was boarding in the school, I was boarding with girls that were three, four years older than I was. We just didn't have much in common. I mean, I never felt like it. And so I was never ever part of this rat pack. And so I never developed these deep friendships at a young age. And so I didn't rely on them. Like I didn't rely myself to put glue and sparkles and all those things after I practiced. Like for me, I had my homework and I'd go to bed and that was the way, and I was okay with it. Like, yeah, it was definitely a lonely world, but it was, I don't know, I think it helped my mind focus on what was really important. And I didn't rely on other people to make me feel better about a board that I was doing or something. And so that really carried through. Like I always, I do see my office as the locker room as the tennis court, as the hallway. Like when I enter there, I mean, I'm in it. And I don't know any other way and it's worked for me. And so like from my perspective, it's not something that I wanna change because it's worked. Like I know that I have to be, like when I go back home, it's easy going, I have friends, I have family, I have so many other, you know, great things that I'm a part of, total goofball. You know, can't take myself seriously. But when I get in that car to go to the courts and I get in the match, like my coach knows, it's Maria. You know, that's the way it is.
The mind has so much power (24:28)
There's another quote on this topic in your book, which I loved. Before I even go out on the court, some of the other players are intimidated. I can feel it, they know I'm strong. How much do you use that to your advantage that they know where your head's at? - They know that I will not, I will not just give them the match. Like you can beat me, but I will not give it to you. Like I will, I will work for it. And that started a young age. Like, you know, I wasn't, we talked about numbers, like I've never been the fastest, the strongest. I mean, I spent years watching, you know, the French Open analysts before I won the French Open, the French Open commentators after you had a champion there speak about all the advantages someone that has that hits high balls and moves well and slides on the clay and has all these attributes that I just didn't have. Like that was not my game. And those words were like, it was like a hamster wheel. It was like just going like rewind, rewind in my mind. And as I was working in the gym or on the court or on the clay courts leading up to the clay season, I think of that. And I wanted to find a way to, you know, to show that my game was capable of improving in order to be a champion at that tournament. So, I mean, I think there are definitely things that you use as motivation. And they always change along your career. You know, what I played for and the things that motivated me when I was younger might not be the things that motivate me today. - Do you have a chip on your shoulder at all now coming into the comeback? - I don't. And I mean, some of the things that I've been through have been really challenging and tough and they've, I've certainly had to open up much more. And by choice, like it's really allowed me to help me through the process of like facing these like tough moments through vulnerability and like understanding that that's okay, you know, 'cause that's also like a moment where I have to realize like it's a good feeling to feel that, you know, of overcoming that, of sharing that with other people and sharing. So, but now I don't know, I play it because I still really believe that I have a lot more to give. And while I was away from it, I feel like the game itself, I mean, as I look back over the years, it's provided me a lot, it's given me a lot. And I still feel like there's more to give to the sport. - You seem like you're playing with hunger. I mean, you seem like you're showing up to win. So you said that the things change over time, but like what is, like is there a red hot something that-- - I think it's internal. I think it's a very, it's an internal feeling of, I've gone through the shits, like I've been through everything and for myself, like I really wanna do this. I wanna put in the work, I wanna make my body strong, I wanna make my mind strong. I've had an incredible team that has stuck with me for so many years and I wanna do it together. Yeah.
What are YOUR strengths? (27:36)
- And what is the one skill talent, I'm not sure what word to use, but if you obviously forget the ability to play tennis, what is that one talent skill that you have that you think is most valuable to you? - I don't think everyone has the patience to go through moments of adversity on the court. 'Cause you're in front of thousands of people and you make mistakes and when I used to practice when I was younger and my mom would come to practice, which was very rare, but if I would hit in the net, she'd come off the court and she'd be like, "I don't understand how anyone can hit in the net. "The net is a few feet high. "You have the whole sky and you hit in the net. "You have so much room." I was like, "Oh my God, there's a reason "why my mom doesn't come to practice." And so if you think about it, there's someone that practices so much and yet goes into competition and makes mistakes or things don't go well. You see it on their face. You see this anger, they're unhappy, they're frustrated, they're looking at their box. I mean, there's so much emotion going on. It's like reading everything right here. They don't even need to explain it, you just know. And so I feed off of that. Without even seeing it, I feel it with the way that they carry themselves. And I've seen it as I've watched tennis on TV in the last couple of years, as I was away, like I noticed it so much. And it started from a young age. I mentioned in the book, like when you see the winner and the finalist in a photograph, like you know exactly who's a winner and who's the finalist. Like a finalist has this like face, like they're about to cry. And the winner has this huge, huge smile. And from then on, I was like, I never want anyone to know if I'm the finalist. Because let's say, I don't know, I feel like I'm giving them so much satisfaction. Is that something you change on the inside or the outside? Like it would be relatively easy to fake the external. Like I just lost my head. - Yeah, no. - Or you like, so going back to that unstoppable, in fact, when I was trying to end the intro for you, the word that came screaming to mind was indomitable. Like just no one can like get inside your mind, nobody can break your will. They may beat you at tennis. Fair enough. But they're never going to break your will. And I do have my moments of frustration. And I look at my coach when things are not going well. And we have a plan and it's not working. And you just want to blame someone. I've had my fair share of moments. But I think there's something about, like I have a routine in the midst of, in between the points where I go back, I look at my strings. And just because when I was younger, I'd be ahead and I'd start looking around and like, oh wow, there's so many people watching me. How cool is this? And next thing you know, you lose the next game, you lose the next set and the match is over. And you're coming off the court like, wait, what happened? I was so happy. So, you know, I know that I can be out there for as long as it is. And like if I can just dedicate myself to that time, I can let myself out of that momentum when I leave. But like once I get on the court, like that's it.
Having kids (31:04)
- You've said in the book that your magic is focus. - How would you train? Like if your daughter wanted to play tennis. - No, I hope not. - Really? Then before we answer that question, let's figure that out. Why do you say that? - I don't think I can do that again. - Because you don't want to go through it? Or because it's like-- - Officially? No, I think that I don't, it's a lot. It's a lot. I mean, you, there's so many unknowns. And there's also like the reality of it. Like I face, there's sometimes moments where I come off the court and I have a tough loss. And I sit there in the locker room and I think, why? Like why am I putting myself through this? So this emotional, I went through the physical like training for it. I give everything I can and then I'm just sitting here like there's no rewards. But then the next day I wake up and I want to get back on the court to improve. But not everyone has this mentality. And I think like the real answer is that it's tough to train that mentality. Like I do believe that you, a lot of it, you have to be born with and not, you know, just because I'm a tennis player and I've done well in my career. It doesn't mean that my future child will. But in terms of experience and helping them, I would love to. But to go through it again, that would be tough. Yeah. - That's interesting. Do you think about kids and what you'd want to teach them? - I think about kids. I don't think about what I would want to teach them. I think one of the great things is that when your family passes down so much information to you, I think it would be such a gift to be able to pass it down to that wealth of knowledge or at least what they contributed to you in your life and be able to share with your children. And like, you know, once they get older, they branch out and they have a life of their own. But while they're young and growing up, I think that's a gift that I will definitely want to. Because my parents, I mean, sacrificed so much and that we've developed a very, this close bond and understanding and, you know, closeness that's very unique. And I think it's also something that I appreciate it as I got older because I see a lot of kids that once they get to a certain age, they kind of want to spread their wings and be like, okay, now it's my time to be on their own. And I've never really felt like the need to do that. I enjoy being around my parents. I enjoy being around people that are older than me as well that have, you know, maybe more mature, more experienced. Yeah. - So let's live in a fantasy world for a second where your physicality never deteriorates. How long would you play tennis? - I don't know. I don't really have a goal. As long as I have this desire to keep getting better. Yeah, like that's important. I think that's, like, if I don't feel that I can be a better player tomorrow, then if I don't think that I can have something to improve, like in my game or not, I know that's impossible. Like there's always something you can do better. - You happen to have said a quote right along those lines which I'd love when people give me quotes, I'm so obsessed with them. And you said, if I wake up in the morning and don't want to be challenged and don't want to be better at something, it would feel like a wasted day. - Right. So is that what led you to Harvard? - Well, let's not get crazy. It's only like a few weeks. - It's still, I find it an interesting story. So you've got the downtime. You don't just sit back and eat hagandas and you can show up in Bahamas. I think you said you did that for like a couple of months. - I did, I did for a little bit. And then I was like, okay, no, I wanted to branch out. I wanted to learn. I knew that during summer there are these courses that Harvard had going on. So I signed up for two, back to back. So Harvard Business School, they teach upon case studies. So, and I signed up like three days before the first class. So they email me these case studies and there's about average 20 for 10 days. And I was like, whoa, like I have to read these before I get to Harvard and before the class begins. So it was intense 'cause I spent three weeks. I spent 10 days on campus. And then staying there and everything. And then we did the second part of it in London.
Sugarpova And Impact
- And what's your vision for business post tennis? Are you gonna bring the same level of competitiveness? Are you really trying to build something big? Like what's that vision? - Yeah, I really am. When I had shoulder surgery in 2008, one of my third grand slam, I was playing really great tennis and started feeling something in my shoulder. I was misdiagnosed a few times, ended up having surgery. And I think it was like really eye opening for me 'cause it was the first time in my career where I felt like, wow, I wouldn't be doing this forever. Like when you're young, you just kind of follow through with things you're playing every day. And then from one day to the next, it was like, wow, I might not have this back. And so I started a candy business called Sugar Pova. And we started with gummies. And the way it started was we, I actually, well, I love sweets. So I grew up with my grandmother just eating all types of sweets. And kind of a bad habit, but what can you do? We all have them. And then it's sort of, I started working with someone that was knowledgeable in the field, Jeff Rubin, who really just helped me with understand like different products, trends, what works in certain places and doesn't. And then I started doing research on packaging for the gummies, realized that, you know, gummies was like a 99 cent product that you buy in a store as you're walking out of the store, you're eating, you're throwing away. There's no meaning to it. And I wanted to create a premium product that looked great, that tasted great. And that's what we did. - And so now is it global domination? I mean, you got involved in the UFC. It's like, yeah, a little bit. So I own Sugar Pova fully. We're in about over 20 different countries right now. We're online where, yeah, we're expanding. We're in chocolate as well. We're doing truffles soon. We've got-- - Do you set like specific goals? Like we want to be in this many countries this much distribution, do this much revenue. - The thing with candy is that it's really a numbers game because there's, you know, it's not a very high price points like $2.99, $3.99. So it's really about quantity. So distribution is really important. And that's the big lesson that I'm learning is like the keys to distribution manufacturers, getting the product, we're also incorporating working on incorporating natural gummies. You know, as you see the shift in health and everything. So yeah, our chocolate's all natural, non-GMO. Our truffles are gonna be amazing. That's gonna be a great addition to the line. So it's a fun business. It's a great taste testing. Yeah, but just evolving it and seeing where it goes.
Where can they find you (38:12)
- Awesome. All right, before I ask my last question, where can these guys find you? - Social media, Maria Sharepova Instagram. Every social media platform I have is quite different. Instagram's a little bit more, I think creative. I love photographs. So, you know, I always use like the 30 filters that they provide like, as one does, right? Twitter, very fan engaging. So I retweet a lot of my, speak to my fans a little bit more and more newsworthy and Facebook is a little bit more corporate. So different things. But all are at Maria Sharepova. - All right. - Yeah.
- And what is the impact that you wanna have on the world? - I think impact to me is a very, is something that comes from within. I always wanna, I feel like I wanna start and end the day being the best version of myself that I can be. I think we're always impacted by external things, people, life, situations, finances, job, all those things. And, you know, it's important to always focus on you so you can be the best version to other people in your life. And if I can do that, I know that I'll, I'll impact others. - Awesome. I love it.
- Yeah. - Thank you so much for coming to the show guys. Thank you. - All right guys. You have something incredible coming your way. If you dive into her mindset and what she has had to do to become as successful as she's become is absolutely insanity. Her story is unbelievable. It's a story of not only work ethic, it is a story of building a mindset that truly is unstoppable. I think that may be the perfect title for her book, the things that she's gone through, whether it's injury, whether it's her most recent setback, always on the other side of that, you watch her rebuild herself into somebody that is to be feared because it is somebody that is willing to put in the work to do whatever it takes to come out the other side better at whatever she's doing. It is gonna be utterly fascinating to watch her translate what she has done so well on the tennis court to the world of business because if she brings that same attitude of I will outwork everyone, I will build my body, I will build my mind, I will research, I will learn, I will do the things that other people aren't willing to do and I'm gonna beat you in the boardroom before you even walk in the room, which is exactly how she plays tennis. So it is gonna be really fascinating. It was super inspiring for me to get a glimpse into that mindset, which is exactly the kind of thing that I want in my own life because at the bottom, at the end of the day, I wanna beat everybody and I love anybody that's got that attitude. All right guys, dive in, let her inspire you, she's gonna blow you away. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe and until next time my friends, be legendary, take care. Thank you guys so much for watching and if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe and for exclusive content, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, all of that stuff helps us get even more amazing guests on the show and helps us continue to build this community, which at the end of the day is all we care about. So thank you guys so much for being a part of the Impact Theory community.