What do you do when you can’t play the sport you love? Turn your fighting energy towards a different arena: the business world.
On a hiatus from the game of tennis, 29-year-old Maria Sharapova has chosen to attend Harvard Business School for a two-week summer program. Although it is unclear exactly what courses or certification she will receive, the Russian tennis phenomenon is reportedly taking two classes on campus. She announced her intentions to attend Harvard on her Twitter and Facebook accounts on Saturday afternoon.
This announcement comes just weeks after the five-time Grand Slam champion was given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for Meldonium — a substance banned at the start of 2016 — at the Australian Open in January. Sharapova denies that she intentionally took the performance-enhancing drug, which would have carried with it a four-year ban from the sport.
Sharapova announced plans to appeal the decision just minutes after it was given, and is reported to be in the middle of an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In the meantime, however, the Russian star is demonstrating her fighting spirit by remaining busy in her day-to-day life. Sharapova already has a lot of business experience, even without Harvard Business School. She founded her own candy brand, Sugarpova, which donates proceeds to the Maria Sharapova Foundation. Sharapova was also previously the highest paid female athlete for 11 years straight (she is still amongst the highest female earners, making $21.9 million this year). And if that wasn’t enough, the five-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one was also the subject of a 2007 Harvard Business Review case study, “Maria Sharapova: Marketing a Champion.”
And perhaps, with her attendance to the Harvard Business School program, she is trying to send a message to the world. She has a life beyond tennis. She may be down, but she is not out.
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