updated 04/13/2006 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/17/2006 AT 6:00 AM ET
After a few weeks off, No. 4-ranked Maria Sharapova, who turns 19 on April 19, says she’ll be ready to jump back into the tournament circuit after losing to her Russian rival Svetlana Kuznetsova in Miami at the NASDAQ-100 last month. That gives the tennis star, who’s been living in Bradenton, Fla., time to relax at her new Los Angeles home, a house she bought on Manhattan Beach. PEOPLE recently caught up with the Wimbledon champ and got the scoop on her new pad, the incident in Miami and her extra inch.
You had some drama recently in Miami, when you had to use the restroom during a match and the audience booed. How did you handle it?
I’m a woman. I have a small bladder. I needed to go – what are you going to do when you gotta go? Actually, it was a really tough situation in the match because I was winning and then she started coming back. It actually ended very dramatically – it was very unfortunate – the girl (Tatiana Golovin of France) twisted her ankle. But that’s tennis. We all need a little drama.
You’ve been playing a lot. What’s your training schedule?
I just finished a tournament a week ago, I’ve been shooting for my sponsors, then I have a few days to start training again. I’ll have like two weeks off and back to the tournaments.
How do you keep in shape in addition to playing tennis?
I work out. I love yoga. I do yoga when I have time, which is not very often. I’m not a huge gym person, so I try to stay away from the gym. But I love to run on the beach or go for a walk. It’s better than riding a stationary bike.
I read that you grew an inch last year, to 6’2". Do you feel any different?
Well, I can see a little more hair now.
And you just bought a home in Manhattan Beach. How do you like it?
I love it. I’ve always loved L.A. but never seemed to find a place. But I finally found a really nice house.
How are you decorating it?
It’s modern nature. It’s really cool. I’ve been adding a lot of wooden pieces to it. I love Balinese style, so I’m making it really homey. I’m always on the lookout for new little boutiques, but I travel around the world so that gives me different ideas.
Are you dating anyone?
I don’t want to talk about that, I’m sorry. But I love how you tried to sneak that one in!