California: Maria Sharapova says that most of her tennis treasures from her decade-long career are either tucked away in the back of a closet or out of sight in the basement of her house.
The 23-year-old Russian beauty said that visitors to her luxury California home would be hard pressed to find any signs that she is one of the most successful female tennis players of all-time.
"I was never like a souvenir type of person," Sharapova said. "You come to my house and I don't think you'd even know that I play tennis, honestly."
Fashion conscious Sharapova likes to dress up as she disclosed this week at the BNP Paribas Open tournament saying she would rather sleep with her high heels on than a pair of tennis shoes.
"You don't see any tennis things around," Sharapova said. "Even my trophies are pretty stored in a (dining room) cabinet.
"Only if you sit in the dining-room table, where nobody ever sits at, unless you point them out, I don't think anyone really sees them."
Sharapova said when she is not on the tennis court she likes to maintain a distinction between her profession and her private life. The only thing she has on partial display is those three grand slam trophies.
"You know, when people come to the house, of course I show them my trophies.
"I mean, like I don't hide them. But I don't have like pictures of me. You don't see like a picture of me with a grand slam trophy.
"We get so many things when we travel, tennis souvenirs and books."
"You come to my house and all the tennis equipment is stored in one closet somewhere in the basement, or in the garage you see my tennis bag."
Sharapova has won 22 career WTA titles and three grand slams, 2008 Australian Open, 2006 US Open and the 2004 Wimbledon.
The three racquets she used to win the majors are in the back of her bedroom closet next to a collection of colourful tennis dresses.
"The only thing I have is in my bedroom and I have like the three racquets that I won the three grand slams with," she said. "They're like behind the closet so you can't even see (them).
"And my tennis dresses are lined up in my closet -- each one that I've worn. I don't know what to make out of it, but it's like that with everything."
There is one pastime though that Sharapova does indulge herself in and that is collecting stamps. It is a hobby she has been doing for several years now.
Indian Wells is Sharapova's first tournament in five weeks as she is recovering from a bad virus. She is trying to regain the form she had prior to having right shoulder surgery in October 2008.
Sharapova is engaged to National Basketball Association star Sasha Vujacic but they haven't set a wedding date yet. She says right now she wishes she could see more of Vujacic, of Slovenia, who was traded in December from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New Jersey Nets.
"I'm young and my fiancee is still young, and I feel like we have many years ahead of us in our careers," Sharapova said. "He just loves the (basketball) sport so much. He just never wants to stop. He's actually scaring me a bit.
"I mean, the way he slept with his first pair of basketball shoes, I certainly would never sleep with mine. I slept with a pair of high heels."
Sharapova said she feels fortunate to have found her man.
"It's wonderful to know that we have each other at the end of the day whether we're travelling. It's tough to be apart, there's no doubt, in so many different ways."
Story first published on: Saturday, 19 March 2011 11:10 IST