NFT space bridges passions for tennis legend Maria Sharapova


Tennis legend Maria Sharapova appeared at the Binance Blockchain Week Paris 2022 to to share her interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

During an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Sharapova mentioned that “she is exposing herself to this new world of crypto and Web3”, noting that the sector will help her better engage with her fans. Sharapova was also one of the strategic investors behind MoonPay’s Series A funding round, however she mentioned that she aims to connect her personal experiences to the digital world going forward.

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Maria Sharapova (right) with Cointelegraph senior reporter Rachel Wolfson (left) at Binance Blockchain Week Paris 2022. Source: Rachel Wolfson

Cointelegraph: What are you doing here today at Binance Blockchain Week Paris?

Maria Sharapova: I am crypto curious and would love to figure out how to bridge the incredible physical experiences I have been able to have with my fans over so many years. I’m now finding ways to include experiences in the digital world, so that’s what I’m most excited about. Also, as a female entrepreneur, I believe it is important to pave the way for other women to enter Web3. Money is a topic I feel we don’t talk about enough as women.

CT: Are you planning to launch an NFT project?

MS: I have been watching this space for several months now, as I am someone who favors opportunities for the long term. When I saw the opportunity to connect physical with digital experiences, I knew I wanted it to be a long-lasting experience for myself. Storytelling is very important and it is a huge component of Web3. I think stories will be told better for both parties when thinking about a project in the long term.

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CT: Do you think NFT can help create better fan engagement?

MS: Absolutely. NFTs is about finding ways to communicate with the right communities interested in what I’m doing within a different kind of space. For example, I was seen on a TV screen every week playing tennis for so many years, however I no longer have that platform every day because I retired a few years ago. The Web3 experience gave me access to my fans in completely new ways. I feel like I’m more engaged with them, as opposed to them just being engaged watching me compete.

CT: As a female entrepreneur and former athlete, do you plan to get more women involved in Web3?

MS: I want to allow women to have a space where they experiment with Web3. For example, I was 17 when I won my first grand slam and social media was in no way a part of that experience. It took years for me to get comfortable with social media over time. I think Web3 is also an area where you have to go out to learn and grow from it. As I mentioned before, the conversation about money, finance, crypto and blockchain is a taboo conversation. People may feel that unless they know about these topics, they shouldn’t speak up. But I think this should be the other way around — you learn a lot more if you ask questions and participate.

CT: Why did you decide to invest in MoonPay?

MS: I want to diversify my portfolio. In the beginning, my investments were around consumer goods. For example, I invested early in the sunscreen brand Supergoop. I am now exposing myself to a whole new category.

CT: What do you think are the biggest challenges associated with Web3 and how can we overcome these?

MS: I would love to see the quality of Web3 experiences get a little more and better, specifically in the digital space.

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CT: Any additional comments?

MS: I am really interested in the NFT space because it bridges my passion for fashion, interior design and creating spaces that are unique for individuals and communities. I was more interested in this space because it has more of a design perspective. It’s also a whole new income stream that both artists and women are discovering.