I met Maria Sharapova yesterday at a WTT match. And she was so nice! - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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I met Maria Sharapova yesterday at a WTT match. And she was so nice!

It had been several years since I went to a professional tennis match. The last time I went, Stefan Edberg was still playing.

On the spur of the moment, I took the long drive out to Amagansett, Long Island yesterday, to wach the Delaware Smash take on the New York Hamptons. And even though it took me 2 hours to drive out there, I still got there plenty early. The place was nearly empty. I bought my $30 Lodge ticket and looked around for a friend that never showed. Then I started to browse around the Amagansett East Side Tennis Club.

Then I went to the patio to relax. And low and behold a couple of tennis players started milling around. And then out of the blue, comes Maria Sharapova in a white t-shirt, red shorts and baby blue Nike sneakers. Then she disapperared for a few minutes. I went out to my car to get my Sharpie magic marker, just in case she signs autographs. So I go back to the patio and wait.

And she she comes again. With all the terrible publicity about tennis fans recently, I was worried about making sure I approached Maria in the right way, and not alarming or startling her. I was probably about 15 feet away from her when I politely asked her if she could sign something for me. She smiled and said something. I was nervous. So I can't really remember what she said. But I assume it was "yes". And when Maria smiled, she had the aura of a movie star! In fact, when I saw her yesterday by the patio walking towards me, this Russian reminded me of a typical Florida or California girl with a tan!

I hoped to get Maria to sign an autograph for a good friend of mine in Vancouver. WTA World knows her as Sharky (Sue). So I had printed up a couple photos of Maria from the internet, just in case I ran into her. I had the photos in a manila folder. And I showed her the first one. She was very nice and seemed interested in the photos! So she signed a couple. Then to my astonishment, Maria asked me if she could keep one of the photos! I told her that was my favorite photo of her. But she wanted it. So how could I say nyet to her? I couldn't. Then I remembered to ask Maria to personalize an autograph for Sue (Sharky). And she did. "To Sue, Best Wishes, Maria Sharapova". But I was a little flustered at her wanting one of the photos, causing my train of thought to be de-railed! So I forgot to ask her to personalize an autograph for me! LOL! But not Sue! Then while Maria was on her way to the practice court about 100 yards away, she asked me where I got the photo. I told her Kournikovadotcom.com. The beautiful photo Maria took is located at http://www.kournikovadotcom.com/mtp-...apova-029.html

While Maria was signing, I asked her how she was doing. She said fine. But I could tell she was very tired. She nearly fell into me walking on the lumpy gravel! And Maria played like she was tired. She showed flashes of brilliance and devastaing shotmaking ability! But the fatigue kicked in. Maria, who plays for the Delaware Smash, lost alot of tough games to Katarina Srebotnik of the New York Hamptons. Maria was just in London for the Wimbledon Girls final on sunday July 7th. Then she flew to delaware to play the WTT opener for the Delaware Smash on July 9th. Then she was playing in Hartford on July 10th. And Amagansett, Long island on July 11th. It's no wonder Maria is so tired. That schedule would even be tough for Superman! I hope Maria can get a couple of days off very soon. I only hope she stays injury free!

I took some photos of Maria practicing and playing, too. And one of Patrick McEnroe as well. But I'm a stiff with a Camera. Especially this Samsung EX! camera. It seems complicated. I only hope I got a few good photos.

The atmosphere at World Team Tennis is alot of fun. And noisey, too!

In a day an age of ego maniacal self centered athletes, it was an absolute pleasure meeting Maria Sharapova. Maria took the time to make me feel special! She was gracious and nice!

I'm glad I took the time to go out to Amagansett. This was probably the only time I'll get to see or Maria in a low key setting. I doubt she will play WTT next year. And I don't think there are any Challengers in the New York area that Maria will play.

After Maria went to warm up, I didn't want to follow her. So I climbed up the bleachers and started talking to a man I thought was a New York Hamptons or WTT. It turns out he was Maria Sharapova's IMG agent, Max Eisenbud. He was very nice. And to my surprise we had about an hour long conversation.

Max reads WTA World and knows who the cat and Sharky are! He remembers a couple of threads about Maria Sharapova, her citizenship and the USTA. If i recall correctly I started those threads! Max said he thinks Maria will remain a Russian citizen.

And here are a few other tidbits of information Max gave me.

- The big scoop which no one is supposed to know about, is that Maria will take a Wild Card at the tournamnent in japan, shortly after the U.S. Open.

- Maria will be done with the juniors after the junior U.S. open.

- Maria will not play the Ladies Kremlin Cup this year because she is not ready to play the big girls indoors.

- Max thought Maria Kirilenko was a fighter and a great shotmaker. He said she could be a great player someday.

- He said Maria went to the Wimbledon's Champions Ball, even thouhgt she was beaten in the final. But there was no dancing at the Ball! I thought that was a tradition!

- He also seemed unsure when I asked him about Maria playing on the Russian Fed Cup team in the future. But he seemed more positive about Maria wanting to play on the Russian Tennis Olympic team. But I doubt she would be put on the Olympic team if she doesn't play Fed Cup for Russia.

- If Maria loses early at a tournament, she doesn't get to do magazine interviews and the like. And I agree with that. She has to think about the loss. And she shouldn't be rewarded for it. That was a mistake IMG and Octagon made with Anna Kournikova. She would lose a match a go talk to Fashion magazines! That was reported on ESPN's Sport Century profile of Anna Kournikova. I'm glad that IMG makes Maria think about an early round loss by not rewarding her with magazine interviews and photo shoots. There is a time and a place for everything. Including photo shoots and magazine interviews and articles. But the time and place is not right after a loss.

I enjoyed meeting Max Eisenbud and talking with him for a long time. He called me a good fan of Maria's, too!

Then Maria's father Yuri joined us on the bleachers. Then Maria joined us, too. And she was in her Delaware Smash outfit. A white top and a black skirt. She sat at the bottom of the bleachers, and would occasionally look up at us. I thanked her for signing and showed her the Maria Sharapova post card Max had given me. She seemd tired to me. And it showed in her play. But there are other days ahead for Maria Sharapova. And alot of great days, too!

Even though she was tired, Maria served a powerful up the tee serve reminiscent of Venus Williams! Maria really climed all over that serve!

From Major League Baseball, the late Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, was known as the "Splendid Splinter", beacause he was a great hitter and he was very slender. Well, the sports world has a new "Splendid Splinter"! And her name is Maria Sharapova. Like Ted Williams when he played, Maria is a great hitter and very slender! And when Maria puts on another 15 pounds and gets her legs under her, women's tennis better watch out!

Last edited by the cat; Jul 13th, 2002 at 03:04 PM.
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:34 PM
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That's VERY COOL!!

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA = #1

Good luck Nathalie Dechy & Dinara Safina too!
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:38 PM
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thanx cat, so glad it was all worth it for you.

thanx for all the other tit-bits ........ not really suprised with it that much.

As for her not getting a WC at Moscow ..... Octagon would give WC's to their own players first.

Good luck in 2016 to my favs*Kuznetsova*Sharapova*Kleybanova*Vesnina*Shvedova*Kulichkova*Kasatkina*
Pavlyuchenkova*Makarova*Diatchenko*Pivovarova*Gasparyan*Leykina*Zhuk*Potapova*Pervushina*AZARENKA *Govortsova
MINELLA TsurenkoAlize Lim*El Tabakh*Robson*Cirstea
*Juhaszova*Zanevska*Broady*Bouchard*
Cetkovska*Svitolina*
Pliskova's*Rus*Bellis*Soylu*Sibille*Uberalova*Eden Silva*
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:41 PM
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Superb report, Cat. Thanks for sharing it and good luck to Maria Sharapova!
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:51 PM
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Maria will be a big star

IMG got to get things right with her where they went wrong with Anna.

Its always easier 2nd time around.
Japan event is the Princess Cup and should be pretty good.

Like i said previously i never doubted her whether she would stay Russian, after meeting her in Melbourne i always knew she would.
tenn_ace likewise said the same when he met her at last years US Open.

Good luck in 2016 to my favs*Kuznetsova*Sharapova*Kleybanova*Vesnina*Shvedova*Kulichkova*Kasatkina*
Pavlyuchenkova*Makarova*Diatchenko*Pivovarova*Gasparyan*Leykina*Zhuk*Potapova*Pervushina*AZARENKA *Govortsova
MINELLA TsurenkoAlize Lim*El Tabakh*Robson*Cirstea
*Juhaszova*Zanevska*Broady*Bouchard*
Cetkovska*Svitolina*
Pliskova's*Rus*Bellis*Soylu*Sibille*Uberalova*Eden Silva*
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Freefall, TBE and Jem!

Eggy, nothing surprised you? Not even the WC into the tournamnet in Japan? Or the fact that Maria won't be playing the juniors after this year?
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 09:55 PM
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both ...... Maria would be wasting her time in juniors next year.
I'm pretty sure Vera D will also finish if she claims #1 spot.

Maria likes playing in Japan, they'll be glad to have her on board.

Good luck in 2016 to my favs*Kuznetsova*Sharapova*Kleybanova*Vesnina*Shvedova*Kulichkova*Kasatkina*
Pavlyuchenkova*Makarova*Diatchenko*Pivovarova*Gasparyan*Leykina*Zhuk*Potapova*Pervushina*AZARENKA *Govortsova
MINELLA TsurenkoAlize Lim*El Tabakh*Robson*Cirstea
*Juhaszova*Zanevska*Broady*Bouchard*
Cetkovska*Svitolina*
Pliskova's*Rus*Bellis*Soylu*Sibille*Uberalova*Eden Silva*
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 10:05 PM
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Maria is only 15 now. She won't be 16 until the middle of next year. If she doesn't play Jr. events, will she play all WTA?

The age restriction rules would seem to keep her out of most things though.

If she is going to play WTA tournaments. How many can she play in at age 15?

Also, if she's turning 16 in the middle of the year, do they count her as 15 or 16 next year?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA = #1

Good luck Nathalie Dechy & Dinara Safina too!
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 11:01 PM
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They count the 12 months birthday-to-birthday.

Great report, cat! I am so happy for you. Thanks for sharing your story with us. So it looks like we won't be getting any photo shoots of "Maria's Trip to the Zoo" if she loses in the first round of a Slam? That's very wise.

One correction, though, cat: Superman NEVER gets tired. Unless he is near some Kryptonite.
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Janie! I'm glad you're back from England. I hope you had a great trip!

And you're right about Superman!

Freefall, I'm with you about Maria not playing the juniors next year. But her agent told me that she could play 10 WTA tournaments, plus the four grand slam tournamnets if her ranking is high enough. But her ranking most likely won't be high enough to for her to get directly into the 2003 Australian Open.

Last edited by the cat; Jul 12th, 2002 at 11:39 PM.
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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2002, 11:29 PM
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Good, I was hoping they did it B-day to B-day.

I think Maria/other players should stay in juniors & maybe play a few pro events until they're 17. Then at 17 go pro or later. It seems like over 2 years is a long time to be stuck on tour & not be able to play a full season. But that's just my opinion & I could be wrong

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA = #1

Good luck Nathalie Dechy & Dinara Safina too!
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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2002, 12:23 AM
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Thanks for the report. I wish WTT would come further south!
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2002, 12:35 AM
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Thank you Cat, good reading !
I guess you live a ong time on this.
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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2002, 01:56 AM
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Super story.


I'm so glad to read another ancedote about
a friendly up and coming tennis daredevil. In
this day and age of accusations among the tennis
elite it's good to know not everyone believes their
own hype.

Come on Maria!!

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Paul Weller & Morrissey + Tennis - Singing = Justine!

"I hung onto tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years.
It is something that is in me, it is me." - JH
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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 2002, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Meesh, Salima and Greenout! Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

And Greenout, I like the way you refer to maria as an up and coming tennis daredevil!

Meesh, I hope WTT comes further South for you, too. Florida is a hotbed for tennis. So WTT staying out of Florida is perplexing. Unless WTT is worried about tennis overkill in Florida!

I have to say that being a fan of the Russian tennis players has left me frustrated and hungry for wins. Especially where the Russiam women are concerned. As a tennis fan, and as a Russian tennis fan, I have not had alot of of good times the last ten years. But there have been a few great moments. But I can recall only five! Such as Stefan Edberg winning the 1992 U.S. Open and in the process so heroically defended his title. Yevgeny Kafelnikov winning the 1996 French Open title was very big, too. Because he became the first Russian man or woman to win a grand slam singles title. and that made his accomplishment historic. Marat Safin winning the 2000 U.S. Open was a great moment as a fan for me as well. As was Yevegeny Kafelnikov winning the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. And meeting Maria Sharapova on Thursday was another great moment! As a person and a big star in the making, Maria even surpassed my expectations of her! Those are my five great moments as a tennis fan the last ten years. Now if Russia wins the Davis Cup this year, then that will be the sixth great moment for me as a tennis fan the past ten years. I just hope the great moments for me as a tennis fan in the near future aren't as few and far between as they have been over the past ten years! The Russian women have been coming for a while now. Let's hope they finally show up and start winning big!
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