While temperatures were below zero on Valentine’s Day in her homeland and in large parts of Europe, the Russian ex-tennis champion Maria Sharapova was tickled pink in a bathing suit in a luxury resort on the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands.

Considered the region’s “best kept secret”, the islands offer pristine sandy beaches, bays, and clear waters on more than 40 islands – and Sharapova couldn’t resist snapping a snapshot in the sun.

The five-time retired Grand Slam winner was a guest at a boutique hotel on an idyllic one-and-a-half kilometer private beach, pictured on a deck chair under a parasol on a deck overlooking the shore.

“Happy Valentine’s Day from this magical beach,” the 33-year-old said to her followers of more than 4.1 million on Instagram.

She stood with her hands on her head in the sun and added: “The beach bay is far too photogenic – it takes all my pink thunder away from me.”

The nature-loving Sharapova did not say whether she was following the action in distant Melbourne, where the Australian Open will take place for the first time since she left professional sport.

Twelve years after winning the title, the former world number 1 was granted a wildcard entry in last year’s tournament before she was eliminated in straight sets in the first round of the final event of her stellar career.

Her former flame, Bulgarian contender Grigor Dimitrov, is in the quarter-finals of the competition in front of a compatriot from Sharapova.

The 18th seed will face Aslan Karatsev, the Russian surprise package that has made the final eight after three qualifiers to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in its career.

Two other Russians could also entertain Sharapova in case she finds time outside of social media to follow the second week of the action: the more established Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are both in the individual round of the fourth round tomorrow.

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