A winning match: Former tennis superstar Maria Sharapova on her new mission as Aman’s wellness champion
Grand Slam star Maria Sharapova is Aman Resorts’ Global Wellness Ambassador
Maria Sharapova is a born champion. The Russian tennis star’s 20-year career saw her win 36 titles, a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and dominate her field with 21 weeks as world number one. She is also one of just 10 women to achieve a career Grand Slam, putting her alongside the likes of Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King in the tennis hall of fame.
At the peak of her career, Maria trained and competed nearly constantly, with a strict fitness regime designed to hone her body to peak performance. But, as any tennis fan or player knows all too well, the game is as much about mental resilience and strategy as it is physical preparation. Little wonder, then, that Maria’s latest project would look to combine physical and mental wellbeing in a series of high-performance wellness programmes for Aman.
Aman’s 35 global hotels, resorts and residences are known for being intimate retreats and luxurious havens for its guests, from the flagship Amanpuri (‘place of peace’) resort in Thailand to the metropolitan oasis of Aman New York. As Aman’s new global wellness ambassador, Maria will co-create a series of retreats and wellness programmes, each tailored to different resorts and destinations.The partnership, Maria says, was inspired by her visits to various resorts in the global stable as she “made the transition from professional athlete to businesswoman and mother”.
“I was so fortunate to get years of incredible physical and mental training, which now helps me perform at the highest level in all my endeavours,” she says, adding she wants to offer guests, “access to coaching and training, designed for elite athletes, that will serve the pursuit of their personal and professional aspirations”.
The first retreat will be held at Amanpuri, situated on a private peninsula on the coast of Phuket, in February 2024 – coinciding with the resort’s 35th anniversary.
“Our idea was to curate an experience that helped Aman guests experience a high-performance mindset in their daily lives,” explains Maria. “Whether you’re a CEO or a mother who has to perform each day, this experience is one that I’ve programmed based on how I would train as an elite athlete.”Hosted by Maria, the three-night Performance and Recovery retreat will offer a personalised wellness journey where the elite athlete will curate and mentor guests through experiences and activities, sessions with expert trainers, and incorporate pioneering technologies that Maria uses daily.
“The intention is to take the group through practices and routines that I incorporated into my career but to make them applicable to any fitness level,” she says. “Everyone is hoping to get more out of their fitness, recovery and mindset.
“Guests’ days will be organised with activities focused on mindset, breathwork, workouts for different levels of strength, and recovery practices with a specific focus on muscular and wellbeing recovery and clean eating.”
Group activities, dining experiences and Q&A sessions with Maria and her guest practitioners are also designed to add to the exclusive experience.Meanwhile, for guests who want to dip their toe into the world of high performance without the commitment of a retreat, Maria has designed half-day Strength & Recovery experience at Aman New York. Launched in September, the session featured an optimised performance breakfast menu at the hotel’s restaurant, Arva (developed by Maria and executive chef Jeremy Price), followed by an hour’s strength training and conditioning session, and finished with a Banya treatment, reflexology and 111Skin treatment in one of the destination’s private spa houses.
“Aman Resorts was always a place of refuge and restoration for me,” says Maria. “During my career I would get one week off per year, a week where I didn’t have to train or wasn’t preparing for a tournament and each of those weeks, I would visit an Aman property around the world. It was my retreat from the intense season.”
With many more optimised, Grand Slam-worthy itineraries to come, it’s clear Maria’s guests will be reaping the benefits of her performance mindset for years to come.