Maria, you came for TAG Heuer, to promote your partnership and talk about Roland Garros. But we are not going to talk about any of that.
What? Who are you? (laughs)
A friend with your best interests at heart. Why are you always late Maria?
Always for the same reason, ever since I was a child: my keys. I am constantly looking for them. But in my defence I am constantly changing city and hotel. I always lose their magnetic keys. Having said that, the type of key doesn’t make any difference, because I also lose my keys at home...
Your colleague Rafael Nadal plays tennis wearing his watch. TAG Heuer would probably be happy if you did the same, wouldn’t they?
Probably, but during a match I try to eliminate any distractions. Watch, bracelets, necklace etc.: I try to be as minimalist as possible. At most I wear a pair of earrings.
Have you never played tennis wearing your Formula 1?
Yes I have.
Did it smash into smithereens?
Of course not! It is lightweight and resistant, very discreet. I can wear it in any circumstances. But on court, I prefer not to.
What times of day are your favourite?
There are two: when I wake up and towards the end of the day, “tea time” at around 5pm. If possible with some culinary treats!
You know you are probably the only person on Earth who likes the time of their alarm clock more than any other?
I’m not sure about that! But for me it is above all a period of calm, when I can take things at my own pace. I wake up gradually, I make my coffee. It is also the time when I look after my social networks. I love waking up!
When do you crack under pressure? In less than a week, you will start defending your title at Roland Garros...
Like TAG Heuer: never! It’s just as well, too, otherwise I couldn’t do the job I do. So far it has never happened and I hope it never does. But who knows? One day, maybe…
If you could spend an hour with anyone, from the world or any other world, who would you choose?
That’s a difficult question. There are so many candidates... My mother, I think (Editor’s note: Maria’s mother hardly ever leaves her native Russia and avoids the limelight at her tournaments).
And the century in which you would have preferred to live?
This one, without hesitation. I feel good in it and I like what it has done for me.