By Fernie Ruano, Jr.

With hands hidden inside the pockets of a pink hoodie and strands of straight blonde hair settled underneath an aqua blue painter’s cap, Maria Sharapova walks with an upbeat stride as she makes her way out to the patio of the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne.

WTA No. 7 Sharapova, the fourth-seed at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis, looks sweet as candy and ready for a day on the beach during a press event even while international cameras and print media are all hinged on her every step.

Sharapova is one of the sport’s most influential players (12,238,456 Facebook fans as of March 20, 2014) and she looks to be in the mood to create some Miami-inspired candy, blow out candles (her birthday is in less than a month), and make a run for the Sony Open title while in South Florida.

I’ve always had great experiences in (Miami). I love playing in front of the Latin crowd. I love all the enthusiasm that they have during the matches and I’ve had great success here, so it always makes me feel welcomed.

The richness and diverse flavor in hot, subtropical Miami apparently had Sharapova in a creative and colorful mood when she recently gave the Sony Open Tennis a look into her world.

If Miami were a candy, what color and flavor would it be?

MS: Ah, yellow and spicy.

What candy do you remember eating as a little girl?

MS: I remember, actually after training I would ask my parents if they could, if they would reward me with something that was sweet and I loved lollipops, so that was something that I asked my mom for at the beginning.

What aspects of the Sony Open Tennis do you enjoy the most?

MS: I’d say the fans. I mean they really make me feel the passion that they have towards the sport in so many ways. I love their enthusiasm and what they bring, and on the court and for an athlete I think that’s a really good feeling.

What is your go to drink between sets?

MS: I have a sports drink that my trainer makes for me right before I go out on the court. So, usually (it’s) a mix of that and water.

Your birthday is coming up in April. Do you have any plans to get married?

MS: (Laughs) No…I plan on celebrating my birthday, but marriage is not part of the celebration.

What’s your favorite “Sugarpova” flavor during the summer?

MS: My favorite Sugarpova flavor is “Quirky.” The flavor is, I don’t know, it changes depending on the mood I’m in, but recently it’s been Quirky. I just like the texture and flavor. It’s like a liquorish with a marsh mellow in the middle and it’s quite chewy.