Sharapova talks dress sense
Originally published on: 13/01/12 00:00
Maria Sharapova may have three Grand Slam titles to her name and occupy the world No.4 spot, but the 24-year-old is just as well known for her elegant fashion sense on court.
Signed by Nike when she was 10 years old, Sharapova has a long association with the swoosh. When we caught up with her for an exclusive interview in Federation Square prior to the Australian Open, we discovered that not only is she passionate about both form and function when it comes to fashion, but she has a strong input into what she wears on court through her Maria Sharapova signature collection.
The Russian, whose dress for the 2012 Australian Open is predominantly white with a splash of dazzling lime green, told tennishead more about her hands on approach to on court fashion.
Tell us a little more about your Maria Statement Slam dress for this tournament.
“The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the year – and it’s hot – so I like to start off with a fresh palette of colours. Last year I wore the tonal grey with the pop of orange. This year it’s the crisp white with the lime green accents and you have the mesh inlays for breathability – that’s the performance part of the material. I’m starting with the lighter colours and towards the end of the year it’s going to get darker and darker.”
How did your involvement with Nike lead to a signature collection?
“I started wearing Nike when I was 10 or 11 years old. They didn’t have a junior line when I started so I found myself rolling up the extra small skirt and trying to find tops that weren’t hanging off me and weren’t created into dresses with a belt!
“Now I see my collection as something that, when I was a youngster, I wish I had been able to have available so I could put something on to feel good in. I have that perspective of designing for someone that’s 13-14 years old to someone that’s playing doubles every week at a club.
“There’s so much diversity in these women and their bodies and for me it’s a real challenge to design something that’s appropriate in terms of style and fit, which is probably the most important thing. I understand tennis so well and the movements and the functions that I know what’s comfortable and you don’t want too much material flying around.
“Having a collection was a dream of mine when I was young, and to have it with Nike and to have other girls on the tour wearing it… sometimes when I think about it, it doesn’t seem real to me.”
Do you work on the principle that your dress designs should allow you to focus on nothing but the game?
"You have to be comfortable with what you have on, how you look and how you feel so you know that when you go on the court there’s nothing else to think about but your game. It’s really about that inner confidence. Especially when you are wearing something that you are comfortable with there’s no doubt you are going to feel free when you’re out there."
Maria Statement Slam Dress
Nike’s innovative sweat-management Dri-FIT fabrics work in the garment’s body and in the pinhole mesh underlay to keep a player cool and dry. The intricately detailed bodice uses front and back insets in a breathable, gill-like pattern to reveal the dramatic color-contrast mesh.
Nike Lunar Speed 3
The Nike Lunar Speed 3 uses full length Lunarlon technology for Nike’s softest ride, while extra durable rubber on the outsole and toe-tip provide excellent traction and durability. An arch fit lacing system locking the foot down completes the lightweight, high-performance package.
Look out for the full exclusive interview with Sharapova when she talks in depth about her interest in clothing, design and her signature range as well as her continuing passion for tennis. You’ll find it in the April issue of tennishead magazine, out March 8. Subscribe here to ensure you get your hands on this red hot issue – it’s going to be a dazzler!