Sharapova calls off wedding
Maria Sharapova (Getty Images)
New York - Maria Sharapova said on Friday that she has broken up with fiance Sasha Vujacic, the former NBA star from Slovenia who is now playing basketball in Turkey.
They once had been set to marry at Istanbul in November, but scheduling troubles between their sporting careers were among the problems that were too much for the couple to overcome.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for each other," she said. "Still would love to call him as a friend. We spent really great years together."
Sharapova revealed the secret of her shattered love life after advancing to the fourth round of the US Open by defeating American Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-1. She will next face 19th-ranked compatriot Nadia Petrova.
Sharapova said the break-up came at the end of spring.
"I was waiting for somebody to ask me that question but nobody did directly," Sharapova said. "I've never really been the type of person to announce things. I never have in any of my previous relationships as well."
Sharapova, who completed a career Grand Slam with her fourth major title last June at the French Open, was composed and poised in discussing what she confessed was a difficult move.
"It was obviously a challenging decision from both our ends," Sharapova said.
"It was a really nice period of time for both of us. But our career schedules just made it extremely difficult to see each other with the traveling and especially his career move to Turkey.
"The playing there was a little bit different in terms of he wasn't able to travel much. He wasn't home one time during the 10 months that he was in Turkey so that made it extremely difficult."
For anyone who had dreamed of going to Sharapova's wedding, don't lose hope.
"You still have a chance," she said. "I still have many years ahead of me."
Sharapova said she does try to put an emphasis on a healthy social life despite her tennis career and such varied off-court business interests as fashion and candymaking.
"I'm able to have a normal life, which I'm pretty happy about," Sharapova said. "I consider myself lucky.
"When I'm at tournaments and doing events and business-related things, it seems like my life is very hectic and very glamorous, very popular. But at the end of the day, when I'm home, I'm just like everybody else, although my office is my tennis court."
Sharapova even says she has a candy flavor that sums her up.
"I've got this little awkward one called quirky," she said. "I feel like that's where I fit in."
Sharapova, despite being only 25, also began to contemplate the end of her career after the retirements of Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick after their matches are done at Flushing Meadows.
"Crazy tournament. Anybody else add to the list? Not me," she said. "It puts things in perspective a little bit because you think tennis does come to an end at some point and you actually start thinking about that.
"When I was 18 or 19 if someone told me I was going to be playing at 25 I would be like stop, this is ridiculous. 'You're crazy.' But here I am at 25. I feel like I have so many more years left.
"I still wake up in the morning and feel like I can be better and motivated. I have energy and I'm healthy. What else can you ask for?"