A Star Named Maggie
Bulgaria: A Star Named Maggie
Faces: 17 November 2006, Friday.
Bulgaria: Maggie Maleeva is the youngest and most famous of Bulgaria's Maleeva tennis sisters, Bulgaria's one-family Fed Cup team.
Maggie turned pro at the age of 14. She was hailed as the most talented of the sister act. By her second year on tour, she was a top-20 player and eventually got as high as No. 4 in 1996. Magdalena, or Maggie, as almost everybody in Bulgaria calls the charming tennis player, boasts ten career singles titles. Still, this year she said goodbye to her professional career. Was it hard for her to give up the racket and what comes next for Maggie?
"It wasn't easy to give up tennis. When I was younger I always believed that I would take that decision easily and I never suspected that I would remain on the tennis courts for so long. Over the last year I knew it was going to be my last year, but as I played good and had no injuries I had my hesitations. But the more time that passes the more I realise I took the right decision. I enjoy my new life a lot."
But still, having in mind the passion Maggie had for the sports, has she found a substitute for the tennis racket? "At present no. I am no rush to get into new challenges because once I start, I am unable to stop", Maggie says, admitting that it might sound a bit strange as Tennis Club "Maleevi" and "Capasca", her newest projects, are already enjoying great success. "Still, ecology and cinema remain my passion", Maggie discloses.
She is known for her devotion to environment protection. But what brings these things together?
"I don't know. Tennis has always been a challenge for me only, whereas environment protection is a quest for the entire human race and its future."
The hardest top Maggie managed to conquer over the years was to become independent, and, of course, to stay fit "because at a certain time in my career I suffered many injuries and I dreamed of playing healthy." As for the "sweetest top"...
"This had to be my husband", Maggie admits. She met Lyubo Nokov, when she was 19 and they married last year in Sofia.
Now what is the biggest challenge for Maggie, who turned from a successful tennis player into prosperous business lady managing Tennis club Maleevi and the fashion store "Capasca"?
"I believe that they are both enough challenging for me. The club is developing really well and it is very nice that so many people are coming there and it would be really great if we manage to train some talented player. As for "Capasca", we aim to expand outside Bulgaria - the team is great and I believe we are going to make it."
Maggie's personal example - a tennis player, a successful business lady and socially responsible person - could affect many, but still she believes that is not enough.
"The personal example shows that we could live in some other way, but it is very important that these ideas are turned into state policy," Maggie says.
That was Maggie Maleeva, the one we know from the television screen and the magazines, but is there something that most people are unaware of?
"I hate to go shopping", she admits.
When asked if she considered herself a star, she said: "I never saw anyone giving a positive answer to that question. Therefore I will say "Yes, I consider myself a star!". (SNA)
I miss her!