How Tennis Convinced New Mom Maria Sharapova to Keep Her Baby on a Schedule

Sharapova shares her son Theo with husband Alexander Gilkes

<p>Joe Scarnici/Getty</p>

Joe Scarnici/Getty

Maria Sharapova didn't get to be the Wimbledon champion and the number one ranked tennis player in the world without knowing a lot about discipline, focus, and yes, the power of a schedule.

So when the former tennis champion, who won Wimbledon in 2004 at age 17, welcomed her son Theo in 2022 with her fiancé Alexander Gilkes, she understood how helpful it can be to stick to a routine.

"I think in some ways there were so many elements of my sport that I could I apply into motherhood," she tells PEOPLE.

"Just the discipline of the schedules and routines and seeing the benefit of that through their behavior and through their eyes has also been really helpful. When I was playing, knowing where I was going to be and when I was going to nap and when I was going to eat helped me so much with my energy."

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<p>Maria Sharapova/Instagram</p> Maria Sharapova and son Theo

Maria Sharapova/Instagram

Maria Sharapova and son Theo

Related: Maria Sharapova Says She Doesn't Miss Professional Tennis: I'm Very Happy with Where I Am' (Exclusive)

Of course, at this point she knows that when it comes to children, you can do your best to stick to a routine, but you also have to be ready to go with the flow.

"We try our best!" she says, noting that the couple travels a lot and have found routines helpful, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

"He's constantly evolving into new phases, so I feel like just when you've settled into a certain routine, it can go out the window," she says. "So you're constantly adjusting to new circumstances, new developmental stages. You just have to acknowledge it changes all the time."

It turns out, her skills on the court have also been helpful in that arena. "I think as an athlete, being able to pivot was key," she says.

Sharapova, who had been playing competitive tennis since she was four and is now a highly successful entrepreneur and brand ambassador, decided to retire from the sport in 2020, after dealing with constant shoulder pain.

<p>Taylor Hill/WireImage</p> Maria Sharapova and Alexander Gilkes attend the 2021 Met Gala

Taylor Hill/WireImage

Maria Sharapova and Alexander Gilkes attend the 2021 Met Gala

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But she was also ready to explore parenthood. “I don’t know if any woman ever knows when it’s time to step into a new phase or motherhood, but I feel like I made the choice at the right time,” she says. “I feel like I have a healthy distance from tennis. I was ready for a new chapter in life.”

As for if there is any chance she'll be at Wimbledon this summer? It's possible!

"We spend more time in California since having our son, but also my fiancé's British," she says. "So we spend summers in Europe."

Although she won't say who she's rooting for, Sharapova shared that she was excited to watch Coco Gauff win the US Open in 2023.

"I watched Coco win, which was spectacular. I saw her first game and then I went back home and then was like, 'OK I've got to go to the Open because she's now gone all the way to the final.' I think it was a long time coming, so it felt like, yeah, I really wanted to witness that moment for her."

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