Playing Tennis (and Talking Cars) With Maria Sharapova

We chat supercars and Bentleys with the tennis demigod and her pal, Chelsea Handler. Then, try to return a Sharapova serve. That last bit turned out exactly how you’d expect.

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Her serve. Good lord. The smart thing would be to let it go whistling by. I haven’t touched a tennis racquet in fifteen years; Maria Sharapova’s serve sometimes touches 120 mph. It has taken her to five Grand Slam wins. Driven her into the WTA top ten for most of a decade. I can’t help myself. I reach for for the ball, try to keep pace, watch it hop and bite the court. Then I look on with surprise as it slams into my knuckles and rebounds wildly into another tennis court. It stings like hell.

Maria Sharapova is an ambassador of her sport, the United Nations Development Program, and Porsche, among others. She’s the newly minted namesake of a friendly tennis exhibition in Los Angeles, a bit of a magnet for characters—like her good friend Chelsea Handler—and a lovely person to chat with before she smashes a tennis ball down your lungs.