Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has officially joined the ranks as one of the few elite athletes to achieve a career Grand Slam after she won the French Open Saturday. She is only the tenth woman in tennis history to win the French, U.S. and Australian Open, as well as Wimbledon.
Sharapova defeated her Italian contender Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 after a grueling 89-minute final match. This win will put her back on top of the world tennis rankings, which is the first time she’s held the number-one spot since June 2008.
While Sharapova has achieved much success in her nearly 10-year career, it hasn’t come easy. The Russian star admits she’s dedicated to her training regimen that includes four-to-five-hour-a-day workouts six days a week with only one day for rest and recovery.
On a typical day, she’ll spend three hours on the court and two hours in the gym. In addition to playing tennis, Sharapova also loves biking and yoga and gets the most out of her workouts by doing high-intensity cardio intervals and strength training. She also enjoys non-traditional exercise such as salsa dancing for strong abs.
Luckily for Sharapova, she’s doesn’t mind being so active because she’s a competitor at heart. While she doesn’t always enjoy her training regimen, she loves what it helps her achieve. “I love to compete a lot, and the practice always helps obviously,” she told Shape Magazine in a recent interview. “It’s not necessarily my favorite thing… putting in the hours, but it’s one of the most important things to getting where I want to be.”
When it comes to nutrition, Sharapova doesn’t ascribe to any one eating plan, but sticks to a mostly clean diet. She told Self Magazine that her favorite splurge meal is a nice-sized slice of cake, as she has a pretty big sweet tooth. Sounds like a girl after my own heart. And her go-to snack? Black English Breakfast tea with raspberry jam swirled in – appropriate for her Russian background.
Sharapova also travels a lot and realizes it’s important to keep a well-balanced diet admist an ever-changing environment – especially the days before matches. “I have a mixture of carbohydrates and protein – some pasta but also some steak,” she said. “I love all kinds of food and I’m not too picky.”
To stay well fueled, Sharapova eats three large meals a day and stays satisfied in between by snacking on fruit and lean protein. She also admits that if she’s craving something, she’ll have it, especially if it’s a cookie.
As an athlete, Sharapova knows what it takes to keep her body in prime shape. But even on the days that she feels like her abs aren’t quite as lean as she’d like or her backside is getting a little too plump, she remains confident in her body despite her insecurities. “Even though work is involved [to stay in shape], a lot of it is about confidence,” she says. I suppose if Sharapova isn’t always feeling at her best, that gives a little hope to the rest of us.
top photo via Associated Press
June 13th, 2012