Former champion Maria Sharapova says she draws inspiration from the longevity of Venus Williams and the two superstars are also looking ahead to the business field when it comes time to hang up their rackets.

Russian former world number one and 2012 Roland Garros champion Sharapova says she takes heart that Venus is still competing at the highest level despite being the second oldest woman in the draw at 33.

“Yeah, of course, it’s very inspirational, and to have the desire and the fight to get up in the morning to want to compete and do this and continue doing it, knowing how tough it is and to keep that level over and over again,” said the 27-year-old Florida resident.

“But on the other hand, she’s been so successful, you know, and that feeling of winning the big titles is so special.”

“I’m sure she’s not just here to walk around the grounds. I’m sure she wants that feeling back, because there is really nothing like it. But, it’s definitely inspirational.”

Venus could meet sister and defending champion Serena in the third round with Sharapova a potential quarter-final opponent.

However, with her career winding down, Venus is looking ahead to life off the court and has already designed her own EleVen brand sports clothing.

“I’m in business school. I have like four classes. I’m at Indiana University East. I had to take some time off because my health went down,” added Williams whose playing career was halted by Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2011.

“So now I’m back and I’m going to close it out, you know, like you’re at 5-1 in the third.”

Sharapova, meanwhile, revealed her idea of starting up a brand of sweets has now reaped great rewards.

“Well, I thought it might be a stupid idea in the beginning, but it’s turned out to be one of the smartest things I’ve done,” she said about the sweets known as ‘Sugarpova’.

“It started off as a creative something that I thought I would eventually, do down the line when I’m finished with my career, would be able to build and grow, but I wanted to start building during my career.”

“You know, it started off as a little mom and pop shop, and now we actually have full?time employees in the company.”

“It’s become a pretty big business in over 30 countries around the world and it’s incredible to see the growth of something that started so small.”

Source: AFP