Maria Sharapova, tennis champion and founder and CEO, Sugarpova: "There were so many times when I stepped on the court and I wasn't the better player, but I won that last point because...I was just mentally a little bit stronger."
There's so many times when. I stepped on the court and i was a better player but i won that last point because i knew that the momentum of the match could swing my way if i was just mentally a little bit stronger. I'm currently. I'm danielle weisberg welcomed to skin from the couch. This podcast is where we go deep on career advice from women who have lifted from the good stuff like hiring and growing a team to the rough stuff like negotiating your salary and giving or getting feedback. We started the skin from a couch. So what better place to talk it. All out than where it began on a couch. He everyone it's carly today. My guests is the tennis champion in entrepreneur. maria sharapova. She has been rained. The number one player in the world by the women's tennis association and won five grand slam titles and olympic silver medal. So almost it's athletic as me. Maria has also built a career off the court. She is the founder and ceo of sugar polka her premium. Candy line she also an investor and strategic advisor for a number of companies maria. Thank you so much for joining me will welcome skin from the couch. Thank you for having me. So we're going to jump in with our standard first question. Skinny your resume. Oh well let me start with. I was born in siberia. Wow how did i end up in california and the story is really crazy. It's incredibly unique. Because my family was from belarus ensure noble exploded they fled to russia and siberia happened to be where i was born at the age of four. I started playing tennis. And at that time we'd already moved to the south. The russian I love the game. I loved everything about it. I loved how individual and focused driven. It was at the age of seven. My parents thought russia wasn't the place to develop tennis talent so they moved to the united states. I went there with my father. I spent the first two years without my mom as she couldn't get a visa. And that's really where my tennis dream developed from the junior days i became professional at thirteen or fourteen years old. Just quite crazy to think about so. It's still very much a child at seventeen. I won my first grand slam in london. I went onto win many titles had a lot of beautiful moments. I had a lot of tough injuries in a very difficult setbacks. Along the way in that process i learned a lot you know. Bmi business developments. I learned about really businesses. That i appreciate it. Companies that i felt really inspired by and their founders. The way that they came out with ideas and we're able to execute on them. And i learned a lot along the way of being tennis player and spending so many hours in hotel room. I was curious. I learned a lot and i guess that's where we kind of developed this A little bit of a business acumen throughout the journey. I wasn't very good skin. I have to say that that's a very difficult question to begin with. What's fun fact about. What can i go go about you. Oh i'm incredibly stubborn. I i'd say stubborn. And and good and then stubborn and very difficult ways like when when we say stubborn. Like i was stubborn and my work ethic and i something when i wanted something really bad really strive for it and do everything i can. But sometimes stubbornness takes you out of something. That is better for you so you don't actually see the other side of things so that's probably not so really go back. Obviously in your skinny talked about this. You were born in area and again to be raised in russia and then you family made a huge change when you were about six touch me a little bit about what you remember about. That move mentioned that you were separated from your mom. Just won't that environment for you like. Where did you go when you came to the us when my parents were very young when they had me my mom was just twenty years old and all they knew was that they had this little girl next to them and that they just wanted to protect her. So i actually didn't spend besides being around my grandparents and some other family members. I didn't spend too much time away from my parents. I was constantly under their their wings and their guidance. And so i'd say the move when i was just six and a half years old United states and leaving my mother was incredibly challenging for her. Because that's all she knew for those past six years for me. It was slightly different. Because i was this little girl that was packing a suitcase. And that was bringing some books. And i was going on this journey and the idea of america. It's hard to paint that picture when you're really young you just. You don't know the difference of america or or another continent you just know you're going to be on a plane and land destination and that for me was miami. The miami international airport which is full of palm trees and just this exotic location. That i'd never seen it's hard i think for my mom. My mom's perspectives a very different experience. How quickly did you and your your parents realize you know. It's one thing when a kid picks up a tennis racket or any sport equipment. Nearly oh good. You like touch the ball. Did they realize that there was something there that you had a gift. I had this focus from a young age. That i think set me apart from some of the group activities that i was doing back. In russia there was a coach in and sochi and he. He was a very like technical coach so he he taught things about the grip and had a forehand and backhand and not so much about anything else. Just like the basics. The foundation of what. I think a young player really needs at that time and he noticed that i had this ability to just want to improve and not get distracted on other activities and other things and as a young girl tried to hit the strings with the ball. And if it doesn't go your way you have a little bit of a tantrum and you move onto something different. And i think what you know. What was exciting. As i saw little improvements and they kept me coming back for more and i think that's what they saw because it's really. It's so hard for me to personally see true talent.