For Maria Sharapova, there isn’t a specific event or milestone that she considers her biggest accomplishment. Instead, she looks at her overall career as a lifelong journey.

The value of recovery

“There’s no doubt that Grand Slam victories are special, and winning a major at seventeen years old will always stand out when I think of my on-court accomplishments,” she says. “But with experience, I remember moments of breakthroughs after injuries or setbacks as very inspiring. They have taught me many more lessons than on-court victory ever would.”

“Have a big dream but a realistic vision.”

With that in mind, her advice to parents with young daughters in sports is straightforward: Do what’s best for her and your family. “Keep in the forefront that this is a sport, and the player must be passionate about the sport,” she says. “Have a big dream but a realistic vision.”

Tips for a fit life

With a realistic vision, it’s also easier to formulate a workout plan and stay physical active, even during the off-season. She recommends “keeping it interesting,” whether that means switching up your workout from cardio to boxing or trying something new altogether. “Get your mind and body out of your comfort zone.”

Her next most crucial tip for staying healthy: Stay hydrated. “Create a habit of starting out the day drinking water. I usually have half a liter before breakfast.” Sharapova sees recovery as an “important element that should be just as important as the training.” So get a good night’s rest and utilize ice baths after intense workouts.

By staying healthy, Sharapova can carry the court’s lessons, like focus, determination and relentlessness, over to everyday life. “I also value the importance of a team who are all very much like a family — this idea of many people working together to make something really great.”