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clementine
Jul 21st, 2004, 05:05 PM
Hi everyone :wavey:

Thought maybe we could use a thread here to post all the news, interviews, and articles we find on Masha. :)

I just got my new Tennis Week magazine and Maria is on the cover again (she was also on the March cover). :eek:

If they haven't been posted already, I'll scan in the pics and article and post them here later.

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Jul 21st, 2004, 05:23 PM
so you want the pics?

clementine
Jul 21st, 2004, 06:51 PM
Sharapova could be near-perfect franchise for Pop Sports Age

By David Whitley and Steve Elling
The Orlando Sentinel
07-21-2004

Maria Sharapova’s recent Wimbledon victory vaulted the teen to the top of the tennis world. Photo: Michelle McLoughlin/Associated Press ORLANDO, Fla. — It has been more than a week now, and Maria Sharapova hasn’t been wooed by Prince William, outearned Oprah or personally saved tennis.

But remember, she’s only 17.

Winning Wimbledon hasn’t guaranteed Sharapova will become a cultural phenomenon. But the buzz she generated at the All-England Club feels like the first ripple of a tidal wave.

"It reminds me of the old Red Smith line, ‘Truth strangles fiction,"’ veteran announcer Dick Enberg said. "He’s right because you couldn’t make this stuff up."

It’s as if the marketing honchos at IMG got together and constructed a dream athlete.

Talent? Obviously. You don’t beat Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in a Grand Slam final on good looks alone.

Looks? Not that appearance should matter, of course. But being six feet tall with long blond hair, ballerina legs and a cover girl’s face probably will not send photographers scurrying to Court 14 to shoot a mixed-doubles match.

Style? The Russian lives to win, ruthlessly returning almost everything shot that crosses the net. Imagine a Bond Girl with a racquet instead of a gun.

Personality? Imagine that Bond Girl with an innocent giggle, quick wit and brains.

History? Anytime a person’s background includes touches of Chernobyl, Pippi Longstocking and Horatio Alger, you have a story that will sell.

Put it all together, and you may have a near-perfect franchise for the Pop Sports Age. With one exception.

Sharapova doesn’t smile. At least not on the court, where she goes about her business like she’s a coroner dissecting a cadaver.

"Well, I would smile. I would do anything," she said. "But I just try to keep my concentration."

It’s a survival skill, the kind of thing a person develops when they are born in Nyaga, Siberia. Yes, that Siberia — where Soviet dissidents used to be sent for re-indoctrination.

The Sharapovas had no problem with Soviet hierarchy. They did have a problem when the Chernobyl nuclear plant spewed its radioactive cloud. Not taking any chances, Yuri Sharapova moved his wife and 1-year-old daughter to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

Three years later, the daughter picked up a tennis racquet. Martina Navratilova spotted the 6-year-old slugger at a Moscow exhibition and told Yuri his daughter could be pretty good with some coaching. The problem was the best coaching was half a world away in Bradenton, Fla., home of Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy.

Yuri had $700 in your pocket and a dream in his heart.

"I was 7 years old," his daughter said. "I had no idea what was going on."

He and his daughter flew to Miami, caught a bus to Bradenton and showed up unannounced at Bollettieri’s. Yuri paid tuition by working odd jobs. Maria lived in a dorm with girls almost twice her age.

They messed up her bed before inspection, kept her awake at night and generally treated her like an unwanted little sister. It didn’t help that Sharapova spoke no English, though she learned it in four months.

That led her to Pippi Longstocking, the novels about a tough, little supergirl whose father was a pirate and mother was in heaven. Sharapova’s mother was in Siberia, and she didn’t see her for two years. Never once did she allow herself to cry about that.

"This girl has no fear," said Robert Langsdorp, Sharapova’s coach. "When the chips are down, she will go for it every time."

By the time she turned pro at 14, everyone knew she was special. Still, nobody expected the skyrocket flight she’s been on the past year, winning three WTA tournaments. She was ranked No. 32 entering the year, made it to the quarterfinals of the French Open and came to Wimbledon as an intriguing curiosity, especially to the Fleet Street tabloids.

July 3, she proved she was much more than just another pretty face.

"It’s an incredible sports story, like walking into Yankee Stadium and tossing a no-hitter as a teenager," NBC analyst Bud Collins said. "There have been plenty of teen tennis stars in the past, but nothing really like this."

Nothing so good, so young and so — political correctness be darned — pretty.

"She’s classically beautiful, yet still a giggly teenager," Enberg said. "But the sharp in Sharapova is definitely there. There’s a toughness under all that beauty. She’s got it.

"More important, it’s terrific for tennis. The game needed a shot in the arm."

Serena Williams has been on automatic pilot. Venus is more interested in fashion. Lindsay Davenport is retiring soon, and Jennifer Capriati can’t be far behind. As for the rest of the tour, most people can’t tell their Myskinas from their Dementievas.

Not that anyone is comparing Sharapova to any of them.

"No Anna questions, right?"

That’s how Sharapova starts some of her news conferences. Who can blame her?

Anna, of course, is Kournikova. The Tennis Barbie who won the hearts and Web sites of millions of young men, even if she never won an actual tournament.

Kournikova still fashioned a lucrative career on her other talents. The comparisons are inevitable, but Sharapova is determined not to become another blond bombshell and tennis dud.

"I never considered myself a pin-up," she said. "I never will."

Well, that makes one of her.

"She definitely has the potential to command a lot of deals on Madison Avenue," said Jeff Chown, managing director of The Marketing Arm, a sports marketing group. "She has looks, charisma, a platform that keeps her in the public eye."

Sharapova is a demographic dream that goes far beyond selling sneakers. She’s a wholesome Britney Spears who could charm millions of consumers into using her favorite credit card, cell phone or soft drink.

"She is what Venus and Serena were a few years ago, and what Tiger Woods is to golf," Enberg said. "She is a $50 million golden girl."

Woods reportedly makes that every eight months or so from his endorsements. Given her age and her marketability, Sharapova may become the female Tiger. Multi Grand Slams. Multi magazine covers. Multimillions of dollars.

Just remember, Planet Sharapova will not be built in a day.

"I always say `so far’ when a kid like that comes along," Collins said. "She’s in a perfect position to get spoiled. Now that success is assured financially, though not competitively, we’ll have to wait and see."

Seven years ago, Kournikova made the Wimbledon semifinals. She was 16 and had the world on her racquet. It slowly slid off.

Now comes Sharapova, who bounced around Wimbledon toting a sociology textbook. She makes straight A’s in her high school courses. She says she doesn’t even have a boyfriend, though the line of volunteers now stretches from Bradenton to the Black Sea. She knows her world is changing fast.

"I hope it doesn’t change the person who I am right now," Sharapova said. "I already told a few people, `If I change, then hit me in the head."’

May they be gentle because she will change. Nobody stays 17 forever. But for now, truth is strangling fiction.

It’s all there. The talent, the looks, the drive. The final piece came out after winning Wimbledon.

The Sharapova smile.

You got the feeling it could be around for a long time.

Marcova
Jul 21st, 2004, 11:03 PM
Excelent story. Is it accurate?
Why are some people semingly so set on digging the dirt on her?

Alone2Gether
Jul 21st, 2004, 11:29 PM
thanks for the article TS

Dan23
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:03 AM
Excelent story. Is it accurate?
Why are some people semingly so set on digging the dirt on her?
Yeah great story and some pretty good observations there too!
Marcova, wherever there is media involved there will always be people trying to bring someone down in order to sell a few papers.

I hope Maria doesnt change too much but from what she says it seems her head is still screwed on and I believe in her.
She can be one of the greats :)

Cheers,
ils

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:44 AM
:worship: Great Article!!!! :worship:

lakan kildap
Jul 22nd, 2004, 04:44 AM
Yes, she can be one of the greats. The physical abilities are there, the length and range, and the power is just beginning to show. According to her, she's not even very strong in the gym, can't even lift two plates. Imagine how much better her serve becomes when she gets those two plates up.

Let us wish she stays injury free, nothing really serious.

She can still improve her game. Most experts were amazed that she reached the QF of the French without much spin on her balls, so again, imagine what if...

And she's fairly ambidexterous, too. Not that it's a big thing, but who knows when that "secret" wicked left handed serve comes in handy?

The changes will come, of course. Let us just wish that whatever those changes are, that they don't undermine her focus and her game. She seems to be capable of shutting out the rest of the world while she's on court, so that shouldn't be much of a problem.

Also, neither she nor we should put too much pressure on her. She doesn't have to win the next US Open, although that would be nice, too. (I read and read Boris Becker's article and can't help but say he's right. Maria should take her time. She's entitled a day off, even is she's Wimbledon champion.) We are, after all, just fans. We came to her, she did not ask us to come. She has EVERY right to throw her life or career away, if that's what she wishes, and there's nothing that we, her parents or advisers can do about it. But again, from what I've seen from this young woman, the chance of that happening is as remote as the South Pole. She's special, especially on the mental aspect.

She can be one of the greats. in two years she may already be.

OK, I'm getting off the soapbox now.

Dan23
Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:00 AM
Great post Lakan, I agree with your thoughts.

For anyone who hasnt read Boris Beckers article, here it is:

Enjoy it all, Maria, but give yourself time to grow as a player
As a 17-year-old, just like Maria Sharapova, he won Wimbledon. Now Boris Becker tells us what's ahead for the Russian starlet
06jul04

SEVENTEEN years old, precocious, hard-hitting, no fears, a Wimbledon champion appears before the eyes of the world and the world is astounded. Where have I heard that before?

Maria Sharapova will find for the next few months that all the serenity she needs in her life will come in just one place, on the tennis court, because the rest of the world is a little crazy at the moment.
I am thinking this an hour after the final and I hardly want to know where she is right now: the champagne corks popping, people in their millions wanting to talk to her, back-slapping, congratulations.

Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, very soon, it is going to be time for her to get back to basics and remember what it was that made her so strong and continue that progress to make her better still.

One thing I regretted about winning this title at 17 is that I didn't give myself, nor did others give me, enough time to grow as a player. To try things out, to risk six months of losing a little bit, but improving your strokes at the same time, because from the time I stood on the Centre Court that day, every tournament became so important, every loss was a disaster.

I was measured for the rest of my life against this one success.

At least I can watch Maria with different eyes. I see two sides of her -- the incredible competitor, the pure tennis player arriving in the final wanting to do great, but also wanting to win; and I see the young woman, not knowing quite what to expect.

In 1985, my parents were in the competitors' box and just at the moment I won they were taken away downstairs, out of the glare of the cameras, away from the madding crowd. I met them later for the first time with a brief embrace and a few words.

On Saturday, her father climbs out of the box and kisses Maria maybe 20 times - I think that was enough.

We have to get back to reality - the celebration was a little on the edge already for my taste. For now, all the sideshows must become just that. Her father has had a huge role in her life and this has been a wonderful day for the family Sharapova and, most importantly, for Maria. But now Yuri has to be a father, because she needs guidance more than ever before.

Yes, she has the exuberance of youth - taking the mobile phone and trying to text her mother in the United States. That is already the next big commercial for her, a script that might have been written by an agent, if I didn't know better!

The multimillion-dollar deals are going to be thrown at her now, especially as she has also taken away from Steffi Graf the mantle of having the best legs ever in women's tennis.

Maria would have had breakfast on Saturday morning and gone through her normal routines, but by 3.30pm she will have looked into the eyes of people and seen them staring back at her in a very different way. She will have seen it in the eyes of the media when they spoke to her.

I remember being afraid for a long time, wondering what they were saying and thinking about me.

It took me a while to adjust to what happened when I walked into a room, the way the fingers pointed, the way people stopped talking loudly and began to whisper.

I must say that the way she handled the whole day bodes well. The way she played, the things she said, were mind-boggling. And she is only a baby. Maybe she is more mature than I was. At 17, I think girls have learned more in life than boys.

Maria is a true power player, going for her serves and her second serves, but I believe she can improve a lot. Her forehand isn't there yet, and that's a frightening thought.

She has a perfect backhand, but the forehand goes up too quickly with the follow-up.

I'm sure her coach will have known that and will work on it. She doesn't come in as much as I'd like -- she volleyed twice and the next time she was at the net was to shake hands.

I had thought with her performance against Lindsay Davenport in the semi-finals that she had the talent to go all the way.

Serena Williams was totally uncomfortable in the first set - her body language was too negative, she didn't get her footing right, she was rarely standing right to hit a ball.

Still, she got to 4-2 in the second set and it was then that Sharapova showed that she is a true champion, with nerves of steel allied to the innocence of youth.

She came into the match not thinking at all of failure; losing was not a concept that entered her mind. I loved it - and not just because I'd been there myself.

The Times


http://home.iprimus.com.au/walkerdjb/ms-ban03.jpg

Marcova
Jul 22nd, 2004, 10:00 AM
That is a very generous article from Boris. I'm glad that tennis players are saying what they think because it is only they who can see the whole game. Most of us are dazzled by the glitz and showbiz aspect of it.

I don't think many expect Maria will win every match this coming year, perhaps she does, but I think she will win more than her fair share in the long run, and give the tennis public some memorable matches.

Sharapower
Jul 22nd, 2004, 01:27 PM
Great article from Boris. That guy seems to be cool, though he doesn't look so.
And... My guess... He's "seduced" by Masha.

lakan kildap
Jul 23rd, 2004, 02:36 AM
Great article from Boris. That guy seems to be cool, though he doesn't look so.
And... My guess... He's "seduced" by Masha.

Yeah, Boris is cool. What makes him such a fan favorite is, unlike other great individual German athletes, Boris shows a lot of emotion on the court. Something you don't really see from Steffi Graf or Michael Schumacher, who were always reserved. And yes, he did really dive for those balls, like a soccer goalkeeper. It must have been the devil to do his laundry after a claycourt match.

clementine
Jul 23rd, 2004, 02:42 AM
There's a new article about Maria in the new Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/magazine/cover/) this week (July 26, 2004 issue with the LA Lakers on the cover) written by Jon Wertheim ("Sharapova's Star Turn"). It's about how Maria is becoming a sports marketing phenom ("As soon as Maria Sharapova claimed her Wimbledon title, agents, tour reps, p.r. people and TV bookers swung into action"). The article, unfortunately, is not available on the web (unless you're a SI subscriber).

Here are the cover shots of Maria on Tennis Week magazine, and I'm also including a pic of her with Mirnyi and Federer which I thought was a nice picture. :)

Dan23
Jul 23rd, 2004, 03:33 AM
Another article with Serena's thoughts on how the loss, at the hands of Maria, will "spur her on". I dont think she gives Maria enough credit really:

Serena spurred by Sharapova defeat
Tue 20 July, 2004 09:33

By Matthew Cronin

LOS ANGELES, July 20 (Reuters) - Serena Williams feels her shock defeat by Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon final will spur her on to regain the top spot in the rankings.

The six-times grand slam champion was dislodged as world number one last August, when she was sidelined with a knee injury, and has since slipped to 16th.

While Sharapova's Wimbledon triumph earlier this month left Serena without a grand slam title for the first time since May 2002, the American believes she will soon regain her form.

"She didn't have anything to lose and I put too much pressure on myself," Serena said before her first-round match on Wednesday at the JP Morgan Chase Open.

"I don't even think of her. I just think about the present, the future and me. I need to focus more on me. If I keep working hard, I'll be back where I belong."

Serena returned to the tour in March after spending eight months recuperating from knee surgery.

Since winning her comeback tournament in Miami, the American has struggled to regain the form which made her the holder of all four grand slam titles following last year's Australian Open -- a feat she dubbed the 'Serena Slam'


HIGH POINT

Serena's victory at the Nasdaq-100 Open remains the high point of her 2004 season and her only title.

The 22-year-old accepted she might have set the bar too high for herself following her comeback.

"Maria played well and I was really disappointed but now I think that after not playing for more than eight months, it wasn't that bad," said Serena. "No one really knows about all the rehab I had to go through.

Serena, whose sister Yetunde Price was shot dead last September in a Los Angeles suburb, added: "I learned a lot last year about life in general. I realised that tennis isn't the most important thing in your life and you can't take things for granted."

Having skipped the second half of last year, the American has nothing to lose for the rest of the season as she does not have any ranking points to defend until March 2005.

"When I was dominant, I was playing every week. I'm going to get back there," she said.

Although Serena may no longer be the force she once was, she reigns supreme as a tennis celebrity.

On Monday, she became the first women's tennis player to have a souvenir bobble-head doll created in her likness.

"It's amazing," she said. "But I guess that happens when you become overly famous. Every week now, I get more famous."

http://home.iprimus.com.au/walkerdjb/ms-ban03.jpg

Lemonskin.
Jul 23rd, 2004, 10:28 AM
Excelent story. Is it accurate?
Why are some people semingly so set on digging the dirt on her?

unfortunately, when you're in the public eye, everyone wants to find something bad about you. you're an aussie... witness the mark latham "smear campaign" and whatnot.

clementine
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:18 PM
Maria is featured in Rolling Stone magazine's 'Hot List', which just came out. It's the issue with Lindsay Lohan on the cover.

Frank
Jul 29th, 2004, 11:28 PM
Sharapova could be near-perfect franchise for Pop Sports Age

Great article! :D

clementine
Aug 6th, 2004, 03:40 PM
Police Nab Tennis Fan on Court at Rogers

Aug 5, 2004

MONTREAL - An 18-year-old Russian male who jumped onto the court to invite Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva to dinner was stopped by security guards at the Rogers Cup tournament Thursday night.

Jim Anderson, head of security for the event, said the spectator was "a goofy kid" who intended no harm to the players.

The fan entered the court just as Zvonareva's three-set victory over Sharapova ended, and moved toward the players' courtside chairs. He was grabbed by guards before he could reach the players.

"He had something in his hand, which is why we were concerned," Anderson said.

It turned out to be a pen and two pieces of paper. The invitation included the phone numbers of the spectator and a friend in the stands along with an invitation to dinner — written in Russian — at a local Russian restaurant.

The spectator is a Montreal resident of Russian origin with no criminal history, Anderson said. His name was not released. He was banned from Uniprix Stadium, but no charges were filed.

"If he comes back, he'll be charged," Anderson said. "He knew he was doing something wrong, but he had never heard of Monica Seles. I think he understands fully now."

Former world No. 1 Seles was stabbed in the back on court by a spectator during a match in Hamburg, Germany, in 1993, suffering a serious wound.

Andy Mac
Aug 6th, 2004, 03:44 PM
hehe that fan is a nutter...its soo funny!

Doc
Aug 6th, 2004, 10:38 PM
Star attraction Sharapova ousted from Rogers Cup by Zvonareva

BILL BEACON
Canadian Press

Friday, August 06, 2004

MONTREAL (CP) - Star attraction Maria Sharapova was bounced from the $1.325 million US Rogers Cup tennis tournament Thursday night by a three-set loss to fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva.

The 10th-seeded Zvonareva advanced to Friday's quarter-finals with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the sixth-seeded Sharapova, the 17-year-old with the fashion model looks who has become the talk of tennis since her victory at Wimbledon earlier this summer. Sharapova was outworked in the duel between baseline hitters in the only singles night match on the day's schedule.

"It's disappointing but no hard feelings," Sharapova said. "I know you can't win everything and you're going to lose sometimes. I'll go home and train now and get ready for the U.S. Open."

Sharapova said she struggled with her serve after the first set, but gave credit to Zvonareva for playing hard on the key points.

"You have to play really good to beat Maria," said Zvonareva, 19. "I started serving better in the second set and that gave me more confidence."

As the match ended, a young local fan of Russian origin ran onto the court and tried to deliver an invitation to a local restaurant to the two players, but he was quickly hustled away by security guards before he could reach them. A security official said the fan was banned from the stadium, but no charges were laid.

Lemonskin.
Aug 7th, 2004, 12:18 AM
hehe that fan is a nutter...its soo funny!

haha ill bet you would have done that same if you had tha chance! :p

clementine
Aug 27th, 2004, 05:33 PM
I don't think we're allowed to post articles direct from Tennis Week anymore, so I'll just post the link. :)

Maria a Picture of Poise (http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=11377&bannerregion=)

Dan23
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:13 AM
Thanks Tangysox :)
Maria still seems to be in a pretty confident frame of mind, which is good.

Frank
Aug 29th, 2004, 12:33 PM
http://www.mercurynews.com/images/common/spacer.gif
Wimbledon winner Sharapova inconsistent, but she's keeping focus

http://www.mercurynews.com/images/common/spacer.gif
BY CHARLES BRICKER
http://www.mercurynews.com/images/common/spacer.gif
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
http://www.mercurynews.com/images/common/spacer.gif

NEW YORK - (KRT) - Two weeks after her electric triumph at Wimbledon, Maria Sharapova was in Los Angeles to see one of her gurus, coach Robert Lansdorp, who had done so much in the previous seven years to turn "this little pipsqueak" into a ground-stroking machine.

They embraced on the practice court, and Lansdorp, whose usual persona is one part grouch and one part grumbler, melted. "You're not the princess of tennis anymore," he told her. "You're the queen."

She certainly is among the ruling royalty of women's tennis after winning her first Grand Slam at age 17, but whether she gets a permanent seat on the throne will be determined right here at the U.S. Open during the next fortnight.

This is the final major of the season, and though Sharapova doesn't have to authenticate her new credentials with a title here, she needs to go deep into the draw to build on her success. That will mean playing better than she has the past month.

It hasn't been full-speed ahead for the elegant, precocious and now 6-foot tall Russian pipsqueak since she swept aside Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final with a brutal display of nerveless hitting.

She's won three, lost three and last week in a tournament tuneup in New Haven, Conn., lost her opening match to Mashona Washington, who is at the top of her eight-year career but has hardly placed herself at the level of a champion.

Still, Sharapova looks as unflustered today as she did in that final in London, when most thought, quite incorrectly, that she would walk on court and dissolve into a pool of pudding.

"She was just too good," Sharapova summarized her loss to Washington. More likely, the reason for her loss was that she's still battling the sort of emotional vicissitudes that come with winning Wimbledon at such a young age. To what new heights could she ascend after the performance she put on in London?

"All of a sudden you want to be perfect because you won a Slam. You get that feeling that there are some shots you should always make, and I definitely know there are more people hungry to beat the Wimbledon champion."

Sharapova paused, then added: "But I'm also hungry."

How she reached this pinnacle is a study in the development of a champion. The key figures in this drama are Lansdorp, Bradenton-based coach Nick Bollettieri, her father, Yuri, and most of all, Maria herself.

She is Anna Kournikova with a total commitment to tennis, and that cannot be easy for a photographer magnet who was being swamped by offers and requests for magazine layouts long before she sailed through Williams.

Born in Siberia, Sharapova is seldom in Russia anymore, having moved with her parents to Bollettieri's tennis academy when she was 9. She was small and skinny - a waif.

"But what she had was determination," Bollettieri said. "Very focused. She didn't go up and down in the way she practiced. She didn't have more strength or a bigger serve than the other kids there, but what she had was a belief in herself. That was the trait that stood out."

Some of that strength came from having to live without her parents in the early years at Bollettieri's. Her father was off finding work and was often absent from Bradenton for long periods of time. Her mother was still in Russia.

But when Yuri was finally able to join her, Sharapova's skills increased rapidly. He took copious notes on everything Bollettieri told him about Maria's off-court training, but he never played the interfering parent, as Kournikova's mother had when Anna was working with Bollettieri.

Sharapova's workouts were hard and long, and eventually, Bollettieri said, it became very difficult for her to find hitting partners because the sessions were devoted entirely to her practice needs, not her partner's.

By the time Sharapova was 13, Bollettieri began to see the earmarks of a future champion, as difficult as that was to predict. She was growing and filling out. Her mental strength reminded him of Monica Seles. And there was the ferocity with which she attacked.

"She just hits the damn ball," said Bollettieri, explaining what he liked most about her game. "She knows no other way but to hit the crap out of the ball. Just like Andre (Agassi)."

Her progress wasn't always smooth. As she got taller quickly, her joints began to ache from the sudden growth spurts, and as a result, she went through periods where her footwork was atrocious.

"She would wobble a lot," Bollettieri recalled. "She couldn't get a jump on the ball."

In an effort to seek out experts in every phase of the game, Yuri asked Lansdorp, who had coached Tracy Austin to her early success, to take a look at his daughter.

Like everyone else, Lansdorp was surprised by Sharapova's victory at Wimbledon, though: "I knew she could do well. She had a good draw," he said. Unlike almost everyone else, Lansdorp knew nerves would not be a factor in the final. She had exhibited too much willpower over the past eight years.

Steadily, her game moved forward but without any conspicuous results - until the grass-court season began this year. She then won the lead-up to Wimbledon at Birmingham, defeating Tatiana Golovin in the final, and three weeks later, she was atop the tennis world.

Countless offers were thrown at her because she possessed that brilliant combination of great tennis and physical beauty, but she has rejected almost all of them except for a multiyear, seven-figure deal with Motorola.

"My relationship with other companies has to be where I think the connection is great," Sharapova said. It was her way of saying that she's going to avoid the distractions and the overexposure that seemed to take control of Kournikova's career and fix hard on her tennis.

She'll begin Tuesday against Chicago's Laura Granville - No. 7 vs. No. 68. Sharapova has had her grace period following Wimbledon, long enough to understand she's a target now.

It's time to start deflecting the arrows and back her Wimbledon dream with another strong performance.

---

© 2004 South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Dan23
Aug 29th, 2004, 12:48 PM
It's time to start deflecting the arrows and back her Wimbledon dream with another strong performance.
It sure is :D

Thanks for that article Frank ;)

Frank
Aug 29th, 2004, 03:25 PM
IT'S SHARAPOVA'S WORLD
In America, the beautiful
Wimbledon champion plots career course, her entourage claims she's the anti-Kourikova, as her ability-and looks-open every door







BY MICHAEL WEINREB
STAFF WRITER

August 29, 2004

They are here from "Entertainment Tonight" and they are here from "Access Hollywood," which means, of course, that they must also be here from "Extra." So the representatives of the grand triumvirate of celebrity news magazines are all here and are all lined up in a neat little row behind the blue velvet ropes, each awaiting their 16 seconds of airtime with the six-foot blonde in the designer sweatpants.

They are here to film the blonde in her element. They are here because she is that rarest of pop-cultural convergences: She is fresh and she is talented and she is drop-dead Madison Avenue gorgeous. It is mid-August; it hasn't yet been two months since Maria Sharapova stunned Serena Williams at Centre Court and became, at 17 years old, "the longest shot ever to win Wimbledon," according to tennis historian Bud Collins. And the peddlers in the interminable sagas of Britney and Justin and Paris and JLo would all like their exclusives, thank you very much.

They've been instructed by the publicist to fall in line, to act as if this were a red carpet at Mann's Chinese Theatre and not a hard court in Central Park, not the staging area at a tennis clinic for inner-city youth, and this is fine with them, because this is the world from which they hail, and they would like to think the blonde belongs to their world now as much as she belongs to professional tennis.

And who's to say they aren't right?

They would like to ask Maria, please, who is her favorite movie star, and has she met Kirsten Dunst, and they're very sorry they have to ask this, but is there someone special in your life? And down the line goes Sharapova, on automatic pilot, delivering bulleted answers: Julia Roberts, and no, she hasn't, and her personal life remains personal, thank you very much.

And who's to say these are inappropriate questions?

"She's an overnight sensation, and that doesn't happen very often, and it's all fun," Collins said. "She's a goddess right now. I just hope it stays fun."

Here comes Maria Sharapova through the looking-glass, a newborn swept into the glare of celebrity. She is the story of the moment heading into the U.S. Open. She is giggly and lithe and classically beautiful, a fact that deserves mention if only because it is part of package that she proudly presents, if only because it is the thing that may allow her to become the most recognized female athlete on the planet.

But then, this beauty is also what could allow the cabal of celebrity to swallow her whole.



Dreaming up a dream girl

Let us say that you are in the business of sports marketing, and let us say that you were to spend the afternoon dreaming up the biography of the utterly bankable female athlete. Let us say you begin with a little girl born in, oh, say Siberia, to which her parents fled in order to escape the devastating effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

And let us say the father works in the oil fields and scrimps and saves and moves his wife and young daughter to a resort town on the Black Sea, which is where the daughter picks up tennis, using a sawed-off adult tennis racket because, in the midst of a crumbling Soviet empire, no child rackets are available.

And let us say that the daughter plays at a tournament in Moscow at the age of six (or seven, depending on the teller of the tale), and here is where a legendary pro - Martina Navratilova - tells the father, whose name is Yuri, to take his child to Nick Bollettieri's renowned tennis academy in Florida. And let us say the father borrows the money to get to America; he cannot afford to bring his wife, and so it is just he and his daughter at first. And let us say they show up in America with $700 to their name, and the father gets a job as a laborer, and the two of them share a bicycle to get around. And let us say, for the sake of legend, that one night, at around midnight, they travel to the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton and show up at his doorstep uninvited.

And the rest falls into place.

"The daddy," Nick Bollettieri said, "was a very wise man."

The story is so sweet, so improbable, that it seems almost apocryphal. Some of it is already being embellished: There are a dozen minor variations on the tale, all of which have been reported in various newspapers and magazines. Bollettieri admits, for instance, that Sharapova didn't exactly show up at his academy uninvited. "She was spotted by someone," he said. But even if the story isn't entirely true - even if it's only one-third true - it's still remarkable, isn't it? It still carries that redolence of the American Dream, doesn't it?

Let us say, then, that seven years after arriving at Bollettieri's doorstep, this girl wins Wimbledon, defeating the most formidable player in the game. And afterward, on Centre Court, she tries to reach her mother on her cellular phone, and can't get any reception. And the world coos, and the suits at a worldwide technology company watch this on television and say to each other, "Can someone get this girl a phone that works?" And then they sign her to a major endorsement deal six weeks later with Motorola.

"Potential is one of the dirtiest words in sports," said sports marketing expert Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based SportsCorp Ltd. "But if she can continue to perform, her potential is essentially unlimited."

If this sounds familiar, it's because we've been through this before. Anna Kournikova was 16 when she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon (in 1997), and if you've ever done a Google search, you know what happened next. Anna Kournikova - struggling with chronic injuries and chronic distractions - became Anna, pop-culture princess and teenage sexpot flouncing about like a diva while seeming to forget that it was tennis which had led her to this position in the first place.

And now Anna is a queen of the tabloids, a regular on Page Six and in US Weekly and on the E! Network. Anna is a millionaire and Anna (who never won a pro tournament) no longer plays tennis, but who needs tennis when you've got the cover of Maxim and you've got Enrique Iglesias at your side?

Sharapova won't forget tennis, though. This is what those who know her keep saying, that she is the anti-Anna, even as she appears in the pages of the Italian edition of Vogue, even as her agent at IMG, Max Eisenbud, admits he can't imagine Sharapova still playing tennis at the age of 30. This is the girl, after all, who always seemed to find the motivation when her coach in California, Robert Lansdorp, would lay down 10- and 20-dollar bills at various spots on the court, and tell her she could keep the bills if she could hit them with her returns.

But this is also the girl who has always been oblivious to outside influences. This is the girl who carries textbooks from tournament to tournament, who clearly recognizes the burden of celebrity and seems to have planned for this contingency since the night before she left for America, when her nerve-wracked grandmother found her serenely laying out her clothes for the plane ride the next day.

This is also the girl whose coach only penciled her into the semifinals at Wimbledon.

"Champions sort of have that thing," said Lansdorp, who's based in Los Angeles, and has coached Tracy Austin and Pete Sampras, among others. "Tracy had it, and she had an 'easy life.' Sampras had it, and he had an 'easy life.' It has nothing to do with their background. It's just what they have. They have no fear."



Oh so American

And yet how can she fight this, the oh-so-American lure of celebrity for celebrity's sake? How does she stand a chance in the gilded era of garbage culture, of Hilton sisters and Joe Millionaires?

She's ready-made for this life, after all. Sharapova is so essentially Americanized - in her dress, in her taste for Palm Pilots and Louis Vuitton bags and Marc Jacobs blouses, in her rapid-fire speech patterns - that at least two other young Russians on the women's tennis tour have declared that she isn't really one of them, that she is American by default.

"She was always with her dad in the corner somewhere," said another Russian professional, Eleva Bovina, who played briefly at Bollettieri's academy. "She was always hanging around by herself. She was a little more outside from everybody else."

"I know where I'm from," Sharapova said. "I know where I was born."

But in a way, the others are right. She is no longer one of them. Not since Wimbledon. Sharapova could retire tomorrow and trade on her beauty and her celebrity for the next 10 years, and walk away with a fortune. It's been proven; it's been done before. Anna, anyone?

What about her father? This, say those who know the family, is where the difference between Sharapova and Kournikova lies.

"Anna's very special to me," said Bollettieri, who coached both players. "But the difference here is that the daddy listened, and turned Maria over to me. Mr. Kournikova would never turn his daughter over to anybody. But then again, Anna's making millions a year, so who's right and who's wrong?"

Who's right? Who's wrong? Who's to say Anna Kournikova herself isn't the personification of the American Dream?

In the end, it will be up to Sharapova herself to decide. Lansdorp insists she wants not one title, not a top-10 ranking, but the No. 1 ranking. But her place in the sport is different after Wimbledon, as Sharapova discovered last week, when she showed up in New Haven, Conn. On Tuesday night, Sharapova double-faulted a dozen times and lost in three sets to the No. 81-ranked player in the world, Mashona Washington.

"When you double-fault like that," an elated Washington said, "sometimes it's a sign of nerves."

Into the media room came Sharapova, her blonde hair still damp from the shower.

"I can't be perfect all the time," she said. "It's all about learning, and at 17, I have a lot to learn. I'm not at the biggest point in my career."

This is both true, and it is entirely false. It is true within the microcosm of professional tennis and it is entirely false within the context of celebrity. Never again will Sharapova be so dauntingly swollen with potential.

On Thursday afternoon at a news conference at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, a television reporter asked her about the New York experience, and she mentioned the shopping and the culture and the shows, the non-stop hectic lifestyle, how much she loved it.

Eisenbud was asked what he worried about, what kept him up at night with this one, and he said he had no worries with Maria, none at all. Then he slipped out of the room, in pursuit of the girl of his dreams.

Maria Sharapova file

Age: 17

Birthplace: Nyagan, Russia

Grand slam history: Became youngest singles winner at Wimbledon in July ... The Open will be her eighth event ... Has a 17-6 career record.

Career: Has four singles titles ... Currently has WTA rank of No. 7, her highest ... Is 0-3 against countrywoman Anastasia Myskina ... Finalist at 2002 Junior Australian Open.

Odd fact: Off-court interests include movies; she lists "Pearl Harbor" as her favorite.

SOURCE: WTATOUR.COM

clementine
Aug 30th, 2004, 09:35 PM
Maria a smash hit in tennis' fishbowl
By Douglas Robson, special for USA TODAY

NEW YORK — It's one thing to win Wimbledon, the biggest trophy in tennis. Quite another to live with it.

That is the tricky road of risk and reward Maria Sharapova must navigate as she takes aim at the U.S. Open this week wearing the Wimbledon crown — and the more burdensome mantle of The New Face in Women's Tennis.

"It is tough," says the Siberian-born, American-trained teen, whose stunning 6-1, 6-4 upset of Serena Williams in July's Wimbledon final unleashed the irrepressible forces of money, fame and celebrity. "A lot of people want a piece of me, of victory."

It's not just the hordes of fans who now recognize her model-good looks and hound her for autographs. It's not the paparazzi who invade her privacy by trying to snap cameos in uncompromising positions. It's not the news of her every move splashed across the Internet instantaneously to every reach of the world.

Mostly, it's the weight of expectation.

"Yes, a lot more people are expecting me to win all the time," says the leggy, flaxen-haired prodigy, seeded No. 7 at the U.S. Open. "But you can't win everything. In tennis, there is only one winner. Everyone else is considered a loser. It's part of the game. That's why I try to work hard and get better to make sure I do not lose."

Lose she will, as she did in all three tournaments she entered since becoming the third-youngest winner in Wimbledon's 127 years. That included her loss to 81st-ranked American Mashona Washington in New Haven, Conn., her first loss to someone outside the top 50 since Sharapova broke into the top 100 in 2000.

But the focus, determination and self-awareness Sharapova continues to display are why many observers believe the 17-year-old can cope with the onslaught ahead.

"I think she's been bred to be ready," U.S. Federation Cup captain Zina Garrison says.

Post-Wimbledon blitz

Ready or not, her time has come. Mariamania is here.

Her vivacious personality, maturity and poise — not to mention a smash-mouth game that, like her 6-foot frame, has not reached full development — have already catapulted her into the realm of one-name wonders like Anna, Serena and Monica.

"Maria" no longer needs elaboration.

"I've seen Mariamania all over the place," says her agent, Max Eisenbud.

This has been a busy summer for a player with just four career titles and still without a driver's license. In the days immediately following her Wimbledon victory, Sharapova appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly, NBC's Today show, CBS' The Early Show and MTV's Total Request Live.

She kept commitments to appear at a charity event for the public summer camp program in New Haven, Conn., and to play a World TeamTennis match in Newport Beach, Calif. She did shoots for Italian Vogue and Hello! magazine, both running spreads on the Russian star.

The first round of post-Wimbledon whirlwind left her so depleted she pulled out of a scheduled tournament in Los Angeles in July.

"I was really exhausted," she says, explaining she had been on the road for 10 weeks in a row. "I was just like, 'I'm too tired to do anything.' People wanted me to go out and party, and I said, 'I'm so tired. I'll party later.' "

Sharapova already has a contract with the modeling arm of IMG, her Cleveland-based management company, and endorsement deals with Prince, Nike and Speedminton, a product that combines tennis, badminton and racquetball.

More recently, she signed a mid-seven-figure global marketing contract with Motorola Inc. The deal is a clever tie-in to her failed attempt to make a phone call to her mother after winning Wimbledon, which was broadcast live to millions. She'll be conducting clinics and making appearances for the telecommunications giant, as she did at New York's Central Park on Aug. 19.

"When you win Wimbledon, for a month or two, it's totally chaotic," says Spain's Conchita Martinez, who beat Martina Navratilova to win Wimbledon, her only major, in 1994. "You're completely busy. Maria's really young, and she's going to have a lot of people knocking on her door. It's going to be hard to stay focused."

Sharapova admits that popularity has its rewards and risks.

"I do feel like I'm being pulled in many different directions," Sharapova says.

Controlling exposure

If Mariamania has arrived, her close-knit group of handlers has taken pains to make sure their jewel does not become overexposed.

Sharapova's team has turned down David Letterman's show, interview requests with major publications, commercial deals and innumerable celebrity invitations.

"She could have gone on private jets all over the place to cool events," Eisenbud says of the post-Wimbledon demand, "but we just had to say no."

In addition to dropping out of the Los Angeles tournament, Sharapova spent several days holed up at home in July. After playing just two events over a six-week span, Sharapova spent two weeks before the Open tune-up in New Haven working on fundamentals at her base in Bradenton, Fla.

She clings to the center of her personal entourage, which includes her California-based coach, Robert Lansdorp, her omnipresent father, Yuri, and her mother, Yelena, whom Sharapova says is her "best friend."

It's all part of the effort to keep things the same — even though they never will.

"I try to stick to the people who were with me before I won and who knew me and believed in me before I won," Sharapova says. "My parents are the two people who have been with me my whole life. They have believed in me. What they have been through with me is amazing."

But that cocoon of security is sure to be tested in the media glare of New York, as well as in the months to come.

Lansdorp, who helped groom the young games of champions Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport, says his latest star pupil seems to fall into the "crossover" category of an athlete whose talent and panache captures the public's imagination.

"The adulation with Maria is more than with Pete or with Tracy, who didn't have all the stuff that comes with it, the modeling, the Kournikova look-alike comparisons," Lansdorp says.

Risks and pressures

How does out-of-nowhere success or sudden fame alter the personal and professional landscape?

Pam Shriver was just 16 and in her first year on the pro tour when she reached the U.S. Open final in 1978. "My family and I were astonished," says Shriver, now a TV commentator.

The Hall of Fame player was so nervous from all the sudden scrutiny she lost her first match after the Open in straight sets.

"I almost hyperventilated," Shriver says.

Austin, the pigtailed prodigy of the late 1970s who won the Open at 16 in 1979, was already one of the top players in the world with big titles under her belt; she was accustomed to the pressure of big-time tennis.

Sharapova, in contrast, was seeded No. 13 when she stormed to the Wimbledon title. She had never beaten anyone in the top five until she upset Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals.

"Now it's going to be, 'So you've won one. When are you going to win another one?' " says Austin, a TV analyst. "I don't think she's ready to win Slams on a consistent basis, and the public doesn't understand that."

On a personal level, many young major winners are unnerved by a loss of their "space."

"I didn't like people looking at me all the time, walking by and saying my name as if I was deaf and couldn't hear them," says France's Mary Pierce, who won the first of her two career Slams in 1995, at the French Open. "I was 20 years old so there was a lot of things that were difficult for me. The only good thing about it was that I actually won the tournament."

Confidence of a breakthrough

And that is the goal, after all, to keep on winning.

"I'm probably a different player because I got a lot of confidence with all my victories," says Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne, the top seed at Flushing Meadow and winner of three of the last six majors. "I feel it on the court and I think the other players, they see it, also."

As Austin says of the Wimbledon breakthrough, "It could make (Sharapova) more hungry to be No. 1 faster." Asked about her goals for Flushing Meadow, Sharapova says without missing a beat, "I want to win it. I just want to go out and play great tennis and show everyone how I can compete."

It's that kind of focus, fearlessness and imperviousness — as she displayed at Wimbledon — that sets her apart.

"I think she's completely ready," Lansdorp says. "She's a sharp girl who knows how to control what she wants. Maria is going to do what Maria wants to do. She will succeed the way Maria wants to succeed.

"She's a lot more mature than people think she is."

Sharapova insists she has not changed, that the demands will not deter her from her desire to be No. 1 and win more Slams.

She's aware of how off-court distractions — such as former No. 1 Serena Williams' fashion designing and acting gigs — can impede on-court preparation.

"I don't think I model enough for it to be a distraction," Sharapova says sternly. "I know my limits. I know when to work hard."

Now she will know life in the fishbowl, although it's an American phrase with which she is not yet acquainted.

"No, I've never heard of that," she says, pausing, then laughing.

sharapovarulz1
Aug 30th, 2004, 10:11 PM
Nice article tangysox!!!

Dan23
Aug 31st, 2004, 12:38 AM
Another article, this time by Nick Bollettieri:

Nick's Picks: First Round
by Nick Bollettieri
Monday, August 30, 2004

Nick Bollettieri is the legendary tennis coach whose vision created the first tennis academy of its kind, which is now Bollettieri/IMG Academies, the world's premier multi-sport training facility in Bradenton, Fla. Nick has coached eight No. 1 players in the world - Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Martina Hingis, Marcelo Rios, Monica Seles, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Click here to read the full biography of this tennis legend.

NICK'S FEATURED PICK:

I'm guilty. That's right your honor… I'm here today to defend the incredibly talented 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as you are well aware, there is a plethora of information floating around out there about this young lady. With your permission, I would like to separate fact from fiction.

Here are the facts: Maria spent her early childhood living in Siberia. She started playing tennis at 5 years old, but the weather and lack of sufficient facilities hindered her development as a player. Her parents made the difficult decision that if Maria was going to reach her full potential, she had to leave her homeland and train somewhere else.

Maria and her parents had many hurdles they had to clear along the way. Maria and her father Yuri were able to get the necessary visas to leave Russia; however, Maria's mother was not so fortunate and had to stay behind. Yuri and his little 7-year-old daughter set out for America. Their first stop was playing at parks and clubs in the Venice/Fort Myers, Fla., area.

Maria was in the right place at the right time when Betsy McCormack from IMG Academies saw her play and told her she needed to be training at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton. So they headed north. Maria lived in the dorms and trained with a group of young players in the junior program on campus. Her father worked all kinds of odd jobs in order to survive and to give his daughter the opportunity to train with the best.

Through normal rotation, she finally got a chance to play on my court. I hadn't noticed her before because she was so young and so thin that if she stood sideways she disappeared completely. But in that tiny package was the determination of a champion. She would hit the ball with all her might every time. At that age, hitting it hard was much more important to her than where it actually went.

Maria's father was constantly taking notes. He would study and listen to what the professional coaches said and what the professional players did. At night he would review his notes with Maria.

Maria is a creature of habit. In training, she walks on the court and goes directly to the baseline. She loves hitting the same shot to the same place over and over again. She absolutely hates missing one ball. If Maria had her way, she would stay close to the baseline and never back up.

Maria is a student of the game, just like her father. She not only enjoys playing the physical part of the game, but she breaks the game down mentally. Maria tries to learn something from every game and every player she goes up against.

Maria is personable and friendly to others off the court… but once she steps onto the court there is little love lost between her and her competition. She is out to accomplish one thing… to win.

Her style of play became apparent as she developed into a professional. She likes to hit the ball early and hits it very flat. Maria likes to control the court and returns every ball as if it is the deciding play. When she does get into trouble, she goes for the big shot.

To her credit, she is a 17-year-old girl who has already won the Toyko AIG Open, Quebec City and Birmingham, and she is the reigning Wimbledon champion. Now she has her sights set on another Grand Slam win -- the US Open.

Since her recent win at Wimbledon, she has lost several tournaments. She is great but not invincible. Maria has now become the player to beat. Psychologically, that can either motivate a player to greatness or cripple them with the fear of failure. The US Open could be a pivotal tournament in Maria's career. It all depends not only on the outcome but how she handles it.

My prediction for the first-round match between Maria Sharapova and Laura Granville is as follows… Maria will hit every ball on the rise with very little spin. She will serve with one thought in mind -- get a short defensive return and go for broke. She will not serve a pushy second serve but will once again go for the big serve.

Maria will move Laura at all times and come in whenever possible. She will return serves for winners. Laura was a big hopeful for America but has not lived up to her expectations. Laura moves very well and will come to the net. Her groundstrokes are also hit with very little spin, but that demands she be in position at all times or the balls will fly.

PREDICTION: Granville must attack and accept that if she pushes every part of the game, it will be over. Sharapova in 2 sets.

CONCLUSION: I sincerely feel the Open will strain Maria physically, but not mentally. In her draw, she will not be hard-pressed for two or three rounds. It will be interesting to see how she performs as she moves her way towards the top.

lakan kildap
Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:27 AM
I don't like the "smell like Sharapova..." part, no matter how innocuously it was put, but here's an article about her rumored fragrance line.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1873043

lakan kildap
Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:21 AM
this one only touches Maria briefly, but some of you guys might be interested in the rackets pro players actually use:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen04/news/story?id=1872892

Dan23
Sep 2nd, 2004, 09:08 AM
Thanks for that mate, very interesting :)
The bit about Maria:
"In the inner circle, a lot of us just laugh about it," said Ludwig, who has handled some of Maria Sharapova's rackets. They were Prince's Triple Threat Hornet models, he says, painted to look like the company's More Attack rackets.

Linda Glassel, vice president of sports marketing for Prince, said Sharapova has used its More Attack model and, since capturing her title at Wimbledon, she has switched to the Shark -- a Sharapova-endorsed racket that went on sale on Wednesday. After her first-round victory on Tuesday, Sharapova announced that she is now using the Shark.

Stringers, though, are skeptical that this could be another paint job.

Andy Mac
Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:52 PM
nice article lakan!

Dan23
Sep 6th, 2004, 12:32 AM
An interesting article by Nick Bollettieri:
Nick Bollettieri: Father must take step back to let Sharapova bloom
06 September 2004


Maria Sharapova's father, Yuri, has done a fantastic job in helping his daughter make the most of her incredible talents, but after Saturday's defeat to Mary Pierce I believe he could do worse than take a step back to help her move on.

Let's not take anything away from Mary's win, which earned her a fourth-round match against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Mary put so much pressure on Maria that the 17-year-old double-faulted 14 times and ultimately couldn't handle a barrage of devastating double-handed backhands.

But go back and look at the video of the match again. If you see Maria looking at the coaches' area once, you'll see her doing it 50 times. And the person she was looking for - Yuri.

At the best of times you don't want a player to be looking to their coach during a match. There's nothing a coach can do at that stage. And what you really don't want is a player looking to a coach who's also their father - and all that entails - at that stage. That's a serious combination, and not necessarily one that's the ideal way forward for a 17-year-old who won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon and is looking for a steady way upwards.

I can draw a comparison between Maria at this time and Mary Pierce in 1995, when I was coaching her at the Australian Open. Mary made the final and after the semi I had to leave to go back to America.

"How can you leave me now, Nick, right before the final?" she asked me. "Because I know now that you don't need me to win it," I told her. She won it without me in the coaches' box, as I knew she could and as players who really want to achieve things should. Good coaching and support systems: fine. Umbilical cords that can just as easily strangle as nurture: no way.

I also remember around the same time when Mary kept on looking at me in the coaches' box during a match. It got to the stage where I had to say: "Mary, you look at me once more and I'm walking out." At vital times, and that includes matches, the player needs to be in control of their own mind and their own game.

Yuri has done a wonderful job for Maria. Now he might ask what he needs to do - or not - to continue doing a wonderful job. Maria has a tough climb ahead of her, one that she has the mental and physical capabilities of completing. But coping with pressures of all kinds is something she will have to get past first.

Coping with an injury is something Tim Henman did well against Michal Tabara. If Tim is healthy, I also see him beating Nicolas Kiefer, who will play a baseline game. Tim's offensive first volleys could be key in what I think will be a four-set win - or a five-set struggle that would favour the German the longer it lasted.

Bigboi
Sep 6th, 2004, 11:05 AM
I wonder if he mentioned that point to yuri before telling the public, if he didn't it could break down his relationship with the Sharapov/a's,
aren't they quite protective of each other, and don't like to receive criticism of that kind, especially from maria's former coach

Maria Croft
Sep 6th, 2004, 11:49 AM
But he has a point, But I don't agree on the double fault one, she just hit it to hard, that has nothing to do with Mary.

Andy Mac
Sep 6th, 2004, 06:50 PM
i think she was jsut (liek she said) tryin too hard at the wrong times....tryin to show mary her killer serve when really it wasnt needed then!

Dan23
Oct 20th, 2004, 03:00 AM
A new article :)
Success smells sweet for Sharapova
Mon Oct 18, 5:01 PM ET Entertainment - AFP

ZURICH (AFP) - Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova is to follow in the footsteps of Andre Agassi and Gabriela Sabatini and launch a perfume in her name.

"I'll have my perfume next year, and I'm excited because it is so different to what I've done in the past," said the 17-year old in Zurich where she is competing in a 1.3 million-dollar WTA event. "It's going to be my own design and something I love to smell.

"The company that I'm working with, we always keep in touch by e-mail because I travel so much. You tell them the smells you like, if you want it to be sweet, things like that. And then the bottle, the colours, the shape. It's a very interesting process. I haven't had a sniffing test' yet, but I will."

Sharapova is seeded four in a field weakened by the withdrawal of Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams. Second seeded Davenport became a no-show after developing a cold, and fifth seed Williams pulled out with a continuing knee injury.

Sharapova will play Daniela Hantuchova in the second round, after the Slovak dismissed Russia's Vera Douchevina 6-1, 6-4.
.
.
.
Meanwhile, Sharapova is having to combine the glamour of the tennis circuit with finishing her education. After competing on court, she has to return to her hotel room and take out her books.

"I've done it for a while now so I'm quite used to it," she said. "In the hotel room I have a lot of time. It takes some self-discipline, but I've been home-schooled nearly all my life and I'm really used to telling myself, Now you're going to sit down and do your homework'.

"There are a few times when you are lazy and don't want to do anything, and I get a lot of those times. But when I'm home I have my mum and she's the one that gets on to me with the school work. So when I'm back home I have to make sure everything's on time and I don't get punished."Full article here! (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20041018/en_afp/tennis_wta_swi_041018210120)

She hasnt had a sniffing test..hehe :hehehe: :D

Andy Mac
Oct 20th, 2004, 08:44 PM
ncie one daniel!

Dan23
Nov 1st, 2004, 05:15 AM
Superstar Sharapova soars into Advanta
Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wimbledon champ brings game to area
By CHUCK GORMLEY
Courier-Post Staff
PHILADELPHIA

In a sense, Maria Sharapova represents everything that Billie Jean King has fought so hard for over the past 30 years.

At 17, she quickly has become the face of women's tennis, replacing Venus and Serena Williams as the most popular draw on the Women's Tennis Association tour, which makes a weeklong stop in Villanova, Pa., next week for the $585,000 Advanta Championships.

Sharapova is young and beautiful, but as she showed by becoming the first Russian to win Wimbledon this year, she also is extremely talented. And because of that she is beginning to distance herself from comparisons to Russian heartthrob Anna Kournikova.

"She's just ignited women's tennis this year," King said Friday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the draw for next week's tournament was made. "She's by far the biggest ticket-seller we have in the game. She's got the `it' factor. People love watching her and boy can she hit the ball hard. She's highly intense."

A year ago, Sharapova could have slid in and out of Villanova's Pavilion unnoticed. But, since winning Wimbledon, she has become tennis' hottest attraction. Unlike Kournikova, who never won a major tournament, Sharapova is looking for her fifth WTA victory of 2004.

She is ranked seventh in the world and is fifth in earnings this year at more than $1.4 million. She already has signed endorsement deals with Nike, NEC and Prince, and early next year she will begin marketing her own line of perfume.

In many ways, King is happy for Sharapova and what she has done for women's tennis. Since King founded the WTA in 1971, annual prize money has soared from $350,000 to more than $60 million.

What concerns King most is the exploitation of Sharapova. She would like her to be recognized as a wonderful tennis player who happens to be beautiful, instead of a supermodel who happens to play tennis.

"I would like men to talk about our accomplishments the way they talk about male athletes' accomplishments," said King, who is just as famous for beating Bobby Riggs in 1973 as for being a 20-time Wimbledon champion.

"That's what's really important to us, because we put in the time and effort just like any (male) athlete," she said. "When I played Bobby Riggs, (former ABC television commentator) Howard Cosell did not say one thing about my accomplishments. He said if I cut my hair and got rid of my glasses I could be a movie star in Hollywood.

"Now that is sick. Look how he talked about me as a woman."

King, 60, wants Sharapova to be given the respect she fought so hard to attain after that historic win over Riggs. She wants Sharapova to be appreciated for her booming serve and strong groundstrokes, not as a Kournikova look-alike who chases endorsements harder than she chases opponents' drop shots.

It is hard to ignore, however, that Kournikova's popularity helped fuel the recent surge in Russian tennis. Four of the top seven women in the WTA rankings are from Russia. King believes Kournikova, who is now retired, is the reason.

"They saw her have an unbelievable life," King said. "She really started this revolution with the Russian women."

In addition to Sharapova, Anastasia Myskina, Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova - all among the top 14 money earners on the WTA - will be competing in the Advanta Championships. Why the surge of Russian dominance?

"They do so well because they have it rough where they live compared to us," King said. "These kids are brought up in environments that are very disciplined and they understand that it's such a privilege to play in this country."

"They understand the opportunity to have an unbelievable life and the freedom to speak and do whatever you want," King added.

For Sharapova, that means playing tennis - and lots of it. Next week will mark her 20th tournament of the year. And at the age of 17, King believes that is simply too much.

"I've already talked to her about it," King said. "I'm worried she's playing too much. I'm concerned already. She loves to play tennis and I never want the passion to be taken away from her. I want her to think about her schedule, not just think about the dollars. Most players think so much about money now that they make bad decisions for longevity."

Serves and volleys: The most interesting draw for next week's tournament is an opening-round match next Tuesday night between Venus Williams and Lisa Raymond, a native of Wayne, Pa. Williams is ranked 10th in the world, Raymond 27th. . . . Sharapova earned a first-round bye and her first match will be Wednesday. Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France also earned a first-round bye. . . . Serena Williams, ranked ninth in the world, pulled out of the tournament "due to illness."
I hope Maria (and her management..) might listen to some of that advice and make an effort to ease the workload on her so in the future she can avoid injury problems or being burnt out too soon :)

lakan kildap
Nov 8th, 2004, 03:24 AM
Maria to endorse Canon.

http://www.mariaworld.net/art81104.htm

I'm switching brands beginning today. :lol:

Dan23
Nov 8th, 2004, 03:57 AM
Another one.....IMG have been busy :tape:

Princess Sarah.
Nov 8th, 2004, 05:36 AM
they really shouldn't sign her up to too much... i guess they r just milking her for all she's worth

Dan23
Nov 8th, 2004, 05:52 AM
they really shouldn't sign her up to too much... i guess they r just milking her for all she's worth
That seems to be exactly what they're doing...:(

Princess Sarah.
Nov 8th, 2004, 06:04 AM
well it will be really bad if she becomes a sell out.... but at least she'll be a sell out with a grand slam

lakan kildap
Nov 8th, 2004, 06:57 AM
Well, it's business, you know. Whether we like it or not, Maria is in a business. And I don't know of any business that says NO to income.

I mean, if this is simply about tennis, why do they even need prize money? Why can't they just fly around the world and play these matches for the sheer love of the game? Don't we all wish they'd simply wear generic white outfits like the one Goran wore at Wimbledon, with no sponsor logos? Right. Except that's not gonna happen. This is a business.

It's not like your club legend of a rock star selling out to a record label and then goes on to produce fan-friendly, hummable tunes. Maria will still be playing tennis. She will still grunt and bark "Come on" like before.

The only thing that bothers me is how this affects her off-court. The Motorola deal has already compromised her speech (she's using the word "connection" more frequently) for starters. And the one horror scene that repeats itself in my mind: Now that she's a Canon girl, what do I do with my Nikon gear? Do I change brands? And in the one-in-a-billion chance that I will meet her, will she even sign an autograph for me and let me take a picture of her with my Coolpix? Aaarrrgh!

Princess Sarah.
Nov 8th, 2004, 07:13 AM
Well, it's business, you know. Whether we like it or not, Maria is in a business. And I don't know of any business that says NO to income.

I mean, if this is simply about tennis, why do they even need prize money? Why can't they just fly around the world and play these matches for the sheer love of the game? Don't we all wish they'd simply wear generic white outfits like the one Goran wore at Wimbledon, with no sponsor logos? Right. Except that's not gonna happen. This is a business.

It's not like your club legend of a rock star selling out to a record label and then goes on to produce fan-friendly, hummable tunes. Maria will still be playing tennis. She will still grunt and bark "Come on" like before.

The only thing that bothers me is how this affects her off-court. The Motorola deal has already compromised her speech (she's using the word "connection" more frequently) for starters. And the one horror scene that repeats itself in my mind: Now that she's a Canon girl, what do I do with my Nikon gear? Do I change brands? And in the one-in-a-billion chance that I will meet her, will she even sign an autograph for me and let me take a picture of her with my Coolpix? Aaarrrgh!

conon don't make film do they??? coz i would have sed switch film! Do u really think it's worth changing ur camera just coz Maria is endorsing it? i mean i know ur a fan and all but don't you think thats a little extreme? maybe you could buy a canon printer or scanner or something along those lines! IMO i think she should be focusing more on her tennis rather than endorsment deals she can do that later i mean she's only 17

lakan kildap
Nov 8th, 2004, 07:46 AM
conon don't make film do they??? coz i would have sed switch film! Do u really think it's worth changing ur camera just coz Maria is endorsing it? i mean i know ur a fan and all but don't you think thats a little extreme? maybe you could buy a canon printer or scanner or something along those lines!

Relax, the switching brands thing was just a joke.

IMO i think she should be focusing more on her tennis rather than endorsment deals she can do that later i mean she's only 17

Actually, from a strictly business POV, I think Maria's team are doing it the right way. If Maria is going to make money endorsing products, then now is the right time. She won't be the "it" girl forever. But now she is. Now is the time. Doing this later like you suggest, there's no guarantee that people or even companies will still want her.

Princess Sarah.
Nov 8th, 2004, 07:57 AM
oh good coz u scared me there for a second!

Dan23
Nov 11th, 2004, 01:10 AM
Finally an actual article thats readable in English about this problem Maria has with the balls. :)
Also Vera Z has backed her up but Mauresmo doesnt agree..

Sharapova wants to drop the balls

Maria Sharapova has complained that the official WTA Tour balls are too heavy and caused her recent chest and shoulder injuries. The 17-year-old Russian asked the Tour not to use its official Tretorn edition balls at this week's season-ending WTA Championships, but her request fell on deaf ears.

"They are heavy on my arm," Wimbledon winner Sharapova said on Tuesday, two days ahead of her opening match at the eight-women round robin event against compatriot Vera Zvonareva.

"It's something that the Tour and (CEO) Larry Scott have to look into. I'm sure the WTA doesn't want anyone to get injured."

Tour spokesman Darrell Fry said that after Sharapova made a private complaint a few weeks ago, the WTA consulted experts and other players as to whether the balls had become a problem but could not find any evidence that her assertion was true.

"There's no correlation at all between player injuries and Tretorn balls," Fry said.

"The health of our players is first and foremost in our minds. That's why we conducted blind tests with dozens of players last year to find the best ball, which turned out to be Tretorn.

"If there are complaints in the future, we'll look into them."

The WTA has a three-year contract with Tretorn but Sharapova and Zvonareva want to see a change as soon as possible.

"The most important thing is figuring out which ball isn't going to injure players," said Sharapova, who claims that the heaviness of the balls led to a pectoral injury at a tournament in Zurich three weeks ago.

The Russian also blames the balls for her shoulder injury in Philadelphia last week, when she was forced to pull out of her semi-final against eventual champion Amelie Mauresmo.

"It's very important to help players who are injured," she added.

Even if other players like Tretorn and are not getting injured, I think the best thing is to help the girls who are."

SURFACE ISSUES

Zvonareva, who reached the final in Philadelphia, agreed.

"I think we should have lighter balls for every tournament that's good on any surface," she said.

"In Philadelphia, my arm was sore and I had trouble with my left wrist, which I haven't had in a while.

"A lot of this depends on the surface. If you have heavy balls on a slow surface, you have time to prepare.

"In Philadelphia, the surface was faster and a lot of times you aren't in a good position, so you have to use your arm and wrist more. That's why the pain might come."

Frenchwoman Mauresmo, however, is opposed to a change of equipment.

"They are not much different to what we played with before," she said.

"Maria complained in Philly when she pulled out of our match but I didn't notice a difference. I don't feel they are heavier."

Third ranked Anastasia Myskina added that since nothing could be done this week, the players needed to grit their teeth and forget about it.

"We just have to play and not complain about it," Myskina said. "I've had pain before and you get used to playing in pain."

Reuters - 10/11/2004

Princess Sarah.
Nov 12th, 2004, 06:10 AM
heres an article from eurosport:) enjoy

Sharapova makes her mark

Playing her debut match at the WTA Championships, Maria Sharapova defeated U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova for the first time in a 6-1 6-4 victory on Thursday. The Wimbledon winner beat her Russian compatriot for the first time in her career at the Round Robin stage in Los Angeles.

Sharapova hit 23 winners in her first match at the Staples Center, home to the L.A. Lakers basketball team.

"I love it here. The atmosphere is great," said Sharapova afterwards. "To be here where the Lakers play, you just feel that excitement. I love basketball."

The 8,500 fee-paying spectators favoured the Siberian, who hit 69% of her first serves to record a first win over her compatriot in three career meetings.

Kuznetsova has previously trounced Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 in Beijing in September. But Thursday's match was a different proposition.

"In Beijing, she was coming off such a big winning streak [14 matches] and she was unstoppable," Sharapova said.

"This time, it was important to start off well and put some pressure on her."

Having won the opening game of the match, Kuznetsova found herself walking to her chair 23-minutes later on the receiving end of some powerful groundstrokes and one set down.

Tied 2-all in the second, Sharapova went on to break Kuznetsova three times and closed out the hour-long match with a backhand winner.

"I didn't serve well," Kuznetsova said. "She was returning pretty good, but I let her do this. She was putting pressure on me all the time."

elbi
Nov 12th, 2004, 05:50 PM
Sharapova lives up to expectations
Tennis teen queen defeats Kuznetsova

By Leighton Ginn
The Desert Sun
November 12th, 2004

LOS ANGELES--Although Maria Sharapova’s picture is in newspaper ads and billboards around Los Angeles, tennis’ teen queen said she usually could go shopping incognito.

That is, until she has to purchase something.

"They recognize me especially when I go shopping and give my credit card, then they go, ‘Oh, it is you,” Sharapova said. “Unfortunately, I give my credit card a lot because I’m a big shopper."

Unlike most 17-year-olds, Sharapova can afford to run up her credit card, as she’s become the new face in tennis.

With her model looks and a game that was good enough to win her a Wimbledon title this year, Sharapova is the face of tennis. Or at least that’s how the WTA has been promoting her.

On Thursday night, in her first match at the WTA Championships, Sharapova defeated U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-4. Sharapova had never defeated Kuznetsova, losing to her in last year’s Wimbledon and this year in Beijing.

In the other matches Thursday, second-ranked Amelie Mauresmo defeated Russia’s Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-0.

In the late match, Serena Williams defeated Elena Dementieva 7-6(3), 7-5.

As far as her tennis is concerned, Sharapova was impressive in defeating Kuznetsova.

"She was coming off a big win streak and she was unstoppable," Sharapova said. "I thought she served better, especially with her second serve. She was hitting aces and sometimes that’s too good. This time, I wanted to get off to a better start to give myself a chance and put pressure on her."

Sharapova has had to deal with a level of fame she hadn’t expected, because she didn’t expect to win Wimbledon.

However, once she won, Sharapova said it was a gratifying moment, to know all her hard work had paid off.

"I never expected to win Wimbledon," Sharapova said. "When you are working on the court, I am not the kind of person that worries about results. I think the work will pay off in the end and it will speak for all your success. I think it is just important to understand that in order to achieve something big, you just have to give it all you have, so you never regret anything.

"I remember all those hard days. After I won Wimbledon, those days flash in your mind and you just think that is what happens when you work hard."

Sharapova had her fans during her match, including one who came down to the floor level with a rose.

At every match, some fans will yell things toward Sharapova. Asked if it bothered her, Sharapova said, "Depends how loud they are. I usually just try to focus on what is going on on the court and not what is happening around the stands. Obviously, it is very difficult when some fans are a little crazy.

"But one example is, if you are down and you hear people cheering for you wanting you go get back in the match, then of course, that is great. And you start to feel that energy."

Playing in the heart of the movie and entertainment capital of the world, Sharapova said she doesn’t have any plans of following in Serena Williams’ footsteps and attempt acting.

"I don’t think so, I haven’t done a lot of acting," Sharapova said. "I think it is great, once in a while to do something different. I am, you know, a renaissance woman. I love to try different things. I love fashion."



:)

Anik
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:04 PM
Sharapova Unlike Anyone Her Age

LOS ANGELES - After winning the WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche on Monday evening in Los Angeles, Maria Sharapova was asked by a reporter if it's possible for her to be a normal 17-year-old - considering her hectic lifestyle and schedule as one of the best players in women's tennis.
Sharapova concluded that she was no different from any other teen, regardless of her worldwide status as the future of the game.

But Sharapova is definitely unlike any other 17-year-old currently walking the face of this planet. She's a 17-year-old who just pocketed a check for $1 million dollars and donated a Porsche Cayenne to victims of the Beslan school hostage tragedy in Russia. That, in addition to spending a week in Los Angeles walking through a field of some of the game's finest players and reaffirming her status as tennis' phenom on the rise.

Sharapova's remarkable come-from-behind 46 62 64 victory against Serena Williams at the STAPLE Center capped off what has been a very impressive year for the Russian player, which included four titles in addition to her Grand Slam run at Wimbledon, 55 match wins and a giant victory at her first season-ending event.

"I don't think I could have asked for anything better this year," Sharapova said. "It has been an extraordinary year for me. And to finish it off just beating players that are the best in the world, I am really sort of speechless because I have had an amazing year. I have accomplished so much.

"I have been through ups and downs in my life. And to achieve so much at 17 years old, I don't think a lot of people still realize that I am still 17."

Sharapova did much more while in California than just win one of the sport's most prestigious events. She learned she can play with Amelie Mauresmo. She learned how to defeat Anastasia Myskina and Svetlana Kuznetsova for the first time. And she demonstrated once again that she can go toe-to-toe with Williams, something a majority of players are still trying to figure out.

Despite her continued rise to fame and climb in the rankings - she will finish the year at a career-best No.4 - Sharapova is quick to point out that she is just a teenager and still struggling to balance growing up with the overwhelming expectations with being a tennis star.

"It is a bit of a struggle," Sharapova said. "There are a lot of things that emotion-wise, expectation-wise that, even though I love expectation, I mean, I am still 17 years old. And I had to face a lot of it. I am just one girl in front of millions of people.

"And a lot of people are watching me, looking at me every second to what I am doing and wanting me to win and this and that. And I just had to realize it is not about winning and it is not about losing. But it is about doing what you can, learning from your mistakes, trying to get better and most importantly, working hard."

Seventeen years old, but well-beyond her years.

Anik
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:04 PM
Sharapova Survives Odd Ending to Championships

Despite a 4-0 deficit in the final set, Maria Sharpova rallies to defeat Serena Williams and win WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche.

LOS ANGELES - For those watching the final set of singles tennis played at the WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche on Monday evening, the scoreline may have been a bit confusing.

Serena Williams, clearly hobbled by an abdominal injury that limited her serving ability, had somehow managed to take a 4-0 lead in the decisive set.

After losing the first set, Sharapova had crept back into the STAPLES Center by rattling off five straight games in the second to even the match at a set apiece, but all that effort seemed to be going to waste and the Russian teenager's chances looked to be trickling away.

Williams' lead seemed to baffle many in attendance, including Sharapova. Her normal 100-plus mph first serves had dwindled down in the 80s and some even in the 70s due to the pain she was feeling in her stomach.

But Williams still had one tool in her utility belt that was proving must useful - some punishing groundstrokes that limited Sharapova's ability to keep the ball in bounds.

"I think she figured that she can't really do anything from her serve," Sharapova said. "So she's got to hit everything as hard as she could. And that is exactly what she did. And there is not too much I could do. She was hitting the ball as hard as she could. And everything was going in."

After building a 3-0 lead, the American then used a pair of off-pace, but well-placed aces to help her grab a fourth straight game to start the decisive set, while Sharapova finally got on the board in the next game, but still trailed 4-1.

Sharapova then collected her first break of the final set to move within 4-2 and appeared to be slowly taking the momentum of the match back into her corner, holding serve once more for 4-3.

To Sharapova's advantage, Williams first serves then crept into the lower 70s and three double faults gave the Russian another break to even the set at 4-4. Sharapova followed by holding serve for her fifth straight game in the match, taking a 5-4 lead. Williams was then unable to capitalize on her final service attempt as Sharapova dropped to her knees following the final point of the match.

In her first trip to the Championships, Sharapova had walked away with the title. She had overcome a large hole in the final set to defeat a former world No.1 to claim one of the sport's top prizes.

4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

"I don't think I could have asked for anything better this year," Sharapova said. "And to finish it off just beating players that are the best in the world, I am really sort of speechless because I have had an amazing year. I have accomplished so much."

After the match, Williams said she felt a pain in her stomach during the first game of the match. As the match progressed - and especially after dropping the second set - Williams said she knew she had to put everything she had left into her shots.

"I just started hitting every ball as hard as I could," Williams said. "And I think I lived off of her mistakes. Once she stopped making them, she was able to come back and win the match. I don't know how I was able to stay out there."

Sharapova's victory was just the second time in 34 matches this year that a player has defeated Williams after losing the first set. The match was the first time the two players had met since Sharapova's stunning 61 64 victory against Williams in the Wimbledon final.

Anik
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:06 PM
Sharapova Wins WTA Tour Championships

LOS ANGELES - Maria Sharapova added another chapter to her short, but already storied career on Monday - overcoming a 4-0 deficit in the decisive set to win the WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche.

The Russian teen won six consecutive games in a thrilling final set to defeat Serena Williams, 46 62 64. For her efforts, Sharapova collects 1 million dollars as winner of the championships, along with a brand new Porsche Cayenne.

"I don't think I could have asked for anything better this year," Sharapova said. "And to finish it off just beating players that are the best in the world, I am really sort of speechless because I have had an amazing year. I have accomplished so much."

During the on-court ceremony where Sharapova received her million dollar check and a large Porsche key, Sharapova announced she would be donating the vehicle to the victims of September's school hostage tragedy in Beslan, Russia.

The victory also lifts Sharapova to a career-best No.4 in the world - a remarkable rise after finishing last year ranked No.32.

"It just shows that I have come a long way in a short period of time," Sharapova said. "It is just really unbelievable."

The match opened with some tremendous serving performances by both players. Sharapova began the match by holding serve and each player continued the trend until 4-4 when Williams picked up the first break of the match when Sharapova double faulted on break point. Williams then served out the first set for 6-4.

After beginning the second set at 1-1, Williams held a pair of break points on Sharapova's second service attempt of the match, but the Russian was able to use a cross-court forehand to get the game back to deuce.

But Williams used an exception cross-court forehand return to give her another break point opportunity and once again, Sharapova double faulted on break point to hand Williams a 2-1 lead.

However, Williams lead didn't last long as Sharapova got back on serve with her first break of the match on the following service game to keep things even at 2-2.

After holding serve for 3-2, Sharapova records her second straight break on Williams serve for 4-2. She then survived a break point chance on her next serve to extend her lead in the set, 5-2.

Williams then called for the trainer to take a look at an abdominal strain she suffered during the match. After briefly leaving the court, Williams returned but the injury clearly was affecting her service game and Sharapova quickly closed out the set at 6-2.

Before leaving the court to get looked at, Williams' serves were clearly hitting above 100 mph, including a fault that was blasted at 129 mph. But after her return to the court, Williams serves were coming over in the high 70s and lower 80s, which Sharapova was quick to return and win the set.

With the injury limiting Williams' motion on her serve, the American took advantage of her opponent's service game, breaking Sharapova at love to begin the third set. And though the pace came off her serve, Williams was able to use a string of winners to hold serve for 2-0.

After the match, Williams said she felt a pain in her stomach during the first game of the match. As the match progressed - and especially after dropping the second set - Williams said she knew she had to put everything she had left into her shots.

"I just started hitting every ball as hard as I could," Williams said. "And I think I lived off of her mistakes. Once she stopped making them, she was able to come back and win the match. I don't know how I was able to stay out there."

Williams continued to rely on her groundstrokes during Sharapova's next serve - again breaking the teenager for a 3-0 lead. Williams had won 12 of the first 13 points of the third set en route to picking up two breaks of serve.

The American then used a pair of aces to help her grab a fourth straight game to start the decisive set, while Sharapova finally got on the board in the next game, but still trailed 4-1.

"I think she figured that she can't really do anything from her serve," Sharapova said. "So she's got to hit everything as hard as she could. And that is exactly what she did. And there is not too much I could do. She was hitting the ball as hard as she could. And everything was going in."

Sharapova then collected her first break of the final set to move within 4-2 and appeared to be slowly taking the momentum of the match back into her corner, holding serve once more for 4-3.

To Sharapova's advantage, Williams first serves then crept into the lower 70s and three double faults gave the Russian another break to even the set at 4-4. Sharapova followed by holding serve for her fifth straight game in the match, taking a 5-4 lead. Williams was then unable to capitalize on her final service attempt as Sharapova dropped to her knees following the final point of the match.

Sharapova's victory was just the second time in 34 matches this year that a player has defeated Williams after losing the first set. The match was the first time the two players have met since Sharapova's stunning 61 64 victory against Williams in the Wimbledon final.

The 17-year-old finishes the season with a 55-15 record to go along with the five titles she won during the year. In addition to the Championships and her extraordinary run at Wimbledon, Sharapova collected titles at Birmingham, Seoul and Tokyo [Japan Open].

Despite not winning a Grand Slam title during the season for the first time since 2001 and still struggling at times with the knee she had surgically repaired in August of 2003, Williams still finished the year with a 39-9 record and two titles (Miami, Beijing). She will finish 2004 ranked No.7, her lowest ranking since finishing No.20 in 1998.

"I had definitely an up and down year I guess," Williams said. "My Serena year wasn't superb. But I think over all, it has been a really tough year for me in general. So I just try to stay positive."

Anik
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:10 PM
for french ppl :p

Sharapova triomphe à L.A.

Mardi 16 novembre 2004 - LOS ANGELES (AFP) - La Russe Maria Sharapova a remporté le Masters de la WTA, ultime épreuve de la saison dotée d'une bourse de trois millions de dollars, en battant en finale l'Américaine Serena Williams, diminuée par une blessure abdominale, 4-6, 6-2 et 6-4 lundi, à Los Angeles.

Comme lors de la finale de Wimbledon cet été, la jeune Russe de 17 ans a dominé la cadette des soeurs Williams pour succéder au palmarès du Masters à la Belge Kim Clijsters et terminer l'année au quatrième rang mondial.

Williams, souffrant d'une blessure abdominale à partir de la fin de la seconde manche, est toutefois parvenue à mener 4 à 0 dans le set décisif avant que Sharapova ne reprenne le contrôle du jeu et ne remporte six jeux de suite pour s'assurer le premier prix d'un million de dollars.

"J'en suis encore toute tremblante, je ne peux pas y croire" a déclaré la lauréate, qui s'est agenouillée sur le court, après un retour de service gagnant en coup droit, au terme de 1 heure et 46 minutes de jeu.

Sharapova a expliqué qu'elle s'était sentie impuissante dans le premier set où une double faute sur un point décisif a donné l'avantage à Williams dans le neuvième jeu.

Dans la deuxième manche, une nouvelle double faute de Sharapova sur un point décisif a permis à Williams de mener 2-1, mais la Russe prit ensuite le service de son adversaire et l'avantage à 4-2. À 5-2, Williams, qui ne semblait pas au mieux, a appelé son entraîneur et s'est fait soigner.

"En fait, dès le premier jeu j'ai ressenti une douleur à l'estomac mais je pensais que c'était juste un point de côté. Une fois dans le jeu, ça allait mieux". Mais la douleur s'est accentuée par la suite et l'Américaine a craint d'aggraver sa blessure, pensant à son aînée, Venus, blessée aux abdominaux en avril 2003 puis victime d'une déchirure musculaire l'écartant des courts pour six mois.

"Je pensais que j'allais être out six mois, je ne veux pas. Cela n'en vaut pas la peine alors qu'une nouvelle saison se profile", a expliqué Williams, revenue cette année sur le circuit après huit mois d'interruption pour une blessure au genou droit. Williams a alors pensé abandonner ou lever le pied mais cela lui a semblé "trop compliqué". Sharapova lui a pris son service au huitième jeu emportant le deuxième set.

Dans la troisième manche, l'Américaine de 23 ans, qui termine l'année au septième rang mondial, ravit deux fois la mise en jeu de son adversaire pour mener 4-0. Mais, ses coups étaient de plus en plus faibles. "Je frappais les balles du mieux que je le pouvais, pensant m'en sortir sur ses fautes. Mais, comme elle a cessé d'en faire, elle est revenue dans le match", a expliqué l'Américaine.

En remportant son cinquième tournoi de l'année, Sharapova est passé du 32e rang mondial, fin 2003, au 4e. "Un joli saut", a commenté la Russe qui rejoint les soeurs Williams dans l'histoire en remportant le Masters dès sa première participation.

Outre son prix d'un million de dollars, Sharapova a gagné une Porsche d'une valeur de 56 300 $ dont elle a fait don aux 344 victimes tuées lors d'une prise d'otages à l'école de Beslan, dans le Caucase russe, en septembre dernier.



La saison extraordinaire de Sharapova

Mardi 16 novembre 2004 - LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Sa victoire en finale du Masters féminin tennis a mis un éblouissant point final à l'extraordinaire saison de la Russe Maria Sharapova, lundi, à Los Angeles (Californie).

Au mois de janvier, elle n'était encore qu'une joueuse russe parmi tant d'autres. Agée de 16 ans (elle est née le 19 avril 1987), elle était classée 31e mondiale et sa blonde beauté rappelait celle de sa compatriote Anna Kournikova.

Un peu plus de dix mois plus tard, la voici parvenue au quatrième rang mondial. Avec à son palmarès - alors que celui de Kournikova est resté définitivement vierge - deux coups d'éclat: Wimbledon et le Masters. "Cela a été une année stupéfiante et je ne vois pas ce qui aurait pu m'arriver de mieux", s'est-elle réjouie après le second.

Battue par la Française Amélie Mauresmo en match de poule, elle venait de triompher de l'Américaine Serena Williams en finale du Masters. C'était la deuxième fois, après... Serena en 2001, qu'une débutante s'imposait dans cette compétition prestigieuse.

"Contre Amélie, j'étais morte. Je me sentais totalement incapable d'aller plus loin. Mais finalement, j'ai trouvé en moi la force nécessaire", a-t-elle raconté, stupéfaite de l'avoir emporté alors qu'elle n'était que la sixième qualifiée.

Objet de curiosité

Au début du mois de juillet, elle avait déjà battu Serena Williams en finale du tournoi de Wimbledon. Un véritable exploit dans la mesure où l'Américaine, victorieuse en 2002 et 2003 avait défendu son titre avec acharnement. Toute l'Angleterre était alors tombée sous le charme de la jeune Russe.

Cette victoire sensationnelle et tout ce qu'elle entraîna aurait pu l'anéantir. Il n'en fut rien, la demoiselle ayant la tête aussi solide qu'elle est bien faite.

"Ce fut une période difficile, car j'étais devenue un objet de curiosité et tout le monde voulait me voir gagner. Mais elle m'a beaucoup appris au sujet de moi-même et c'est comme ça que je suis parvenue à me maintenir parmi les meilleures", se souvient-elle.

Parmi des hauts et des bas, elle fut notamment finaliste à Philadelphie et à Zurich, et gagnante à Séoul et à Tokyo, après Wimbledon. Inévitablement, on en fera une future N.1 mondiale la saison prochaine.

"Cela demande énormément de travail, mais j'y suis préparée", a-t-elle prévenu. Pour l'heure, elle ne songe qu'à se reposer. "J'ai mérité de grandes vacances", s'est-elle exclamé au terme de sa trajectoire fulgurante.

Arhivarius
Nov 19th, 2004, 04:25 AM
The article about Masha with some original and nice pics here.
http://www.kp.ru/daily/23406/34167/ :)

lakan kildap
Nov 23rd, 2004, 05:37 AM
Maria out of this world
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/11/20/sports/9450154&sec=sports

Arhivarius
Nov 23rd, 2004, 06:40 AM
Maria out of this world

Just envy. Nothing else. It's understandable. :)

Edward.
Nov 23rd, 2004, 07:11 AM
Calling Bartoli a rival is taking it a bit too far.

lakan kildap
Nov 23rd, 2004, 07:42 AM
In baseball, it is not uncommon for elite pitchers to avoid the company of position players, i.e. the batters, even if these happen to be their teammates. The reason is that, with free agency and trades and all, it is not unlikely that the player who is your teammate this year would be on another team next year, so not being chatty with him will help you later when you face each other as opponents. Makes it easier for you to strike (or get) them out.

Some posters in the GM and even in Mariaworld (back in the day when I still browsed the GM and Mariaworld forums) say they're journalists, and report that Maria is moody, nice one minute and completely shutting you out the next. It's probably true, but I must also say it is completely alright. All great champions have some measure of pride and aloofness in them. It's what makes them special, what makes them winners. As long as they're not Albert Belle or Barry Bonds-level, it's fine with me. Maria has an obligation to be nice only to the people who brought her to the top.

Sharapower
Nov 23rd, 2004, 08:20 AM
The way Maria answers to journalist tends to show that she's not very fond of them, which shows she's wise, journalists are capable of doing crap to anybody in order to sell newspapers, so those reports that Maria is moody with journalists is probably true.

Towards players, I think the same applies. They are not supposed to be her friends, they are supposed to be the ones she's gonna beat at any cost. I think Maria is very proud of her achievements which is totally legitimate. Then probably, she's not going to make the first step towards the average player, she considers that the average player is the one who would show respect to her. I don't think that if any girl passes in front of her and then says hello, she would ignore that person.

IMHO, Maria is a very self-centered person (I generally recognize that kind of personality for being one, lol). She has reached a status that makes her being on her guard about almost everyone. She considers any person as potentially harmful, and that's not so wrong.

Last thing, my perception is that Maria doesn't appreciate that much to be a celebrity. She knows she has a role to play for her agent IMG, for the WTA, she accepts to do it but she's not eager to it. Maria's will is about winning and having a comfortable life. Not really to be in the spotlight.

OK, everything I say is pure speculation, but I consider myself to have some psychology and when I analyze the way Maria acts and what she says, that lead me to these conclusions. Nethertheless Maria is probably a person who's greatly worth knowing personally and having a real-friendship, but it certainly takes from you to be someone exceptionnal, just like she is.

nouf
Nov 23rd, 2004, 08:22 AM
exclusif by mashafan! http://mashafan.free.fr/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=58&mode=&order=0&thold=0

5-8 january 2005 maria will be in Honk Kong Challenge!

Dan23
Nov 24th, 2004, 03:24 AM
An article regarding the Fed-Cup selection...and the Russian teams dislike for Yuri
Its sad that Maria is overlooked to play for her country because of something she isnt responsible for..:sad:

Tennis: Russians dislike Sharapova's 'nasty' father
24.11.2004

MOSCOW - Russia Fed Cup tennis coach Larisa Neiland feels it would be difficult for Maria Sharapova to break into the Russian team next year because of her father.

"I don't think she'll find it easy being on the same team with all the rest of our girls," said Neiland, speaking on the eve of the Fed Cup semifinals.

The 17-year-old Wimbledon champion has been kept out of the team by French Open champion Anastasia Myskina and US Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova as Russia looking for their first Fed Cup title.

They face Austria in the semifinals in Moscow, with defending champions France up against Spain.

Russia captain Shamil Tarpishchev said he would welcome Florida-based Sharapova next season, although six-times grand slam doubles champion Neiland believes the inclusion of Sharapova could harm team spirit.

"Maria's main problem is her father and I just don't see how he would coexist with other girls' parents and team officials," said Neiland, who became the first Soviet player to win a Wimbledon title in 1991 when she teamed up with Natasha Zvereva.

"You can't just go by rankings alone in selecting the team.

"You need great team spirit, togetherness in order to make a really strong squad."

Pointing to the season-ending WTA Tour Championships, won by Sharapova last Monday in Los Angeles, Neiland said: "Every time Maria was playing a Russian girl, her father's behaviour was simply outrageous, nasty and out of control.

"He basically tells everyone 'to get lost'. I just don't see how he could work with the rest of us."

Myskina, who lost to Sharapova in the semifinals, also complained about the behaviour of her father during their match.

"He was just yelling and screaming instructions to her and I thought he just might jump right on the court at one point in the match," Myskina was quoted as saying in the Russia media.

Yuri Sharapova received a warning from the chair umpire for coaching his daughter during the Myskina match.

"I remember a couple of years ago (Jennifer) Capriati and her father had similar problems with the US team," Neiland said.

Capriati was dropped from the US team on the eve of a tie with Austria in 2002 after the French Open champion ignored team rules and practised with her father.

"You don't want someone from the outside to disrupt the team's preparations," Neiland said.

"That's why sometimes it's better to leave someone out of the team and not have that negative influence among the players."

- REUTERS

lakan kildap
Nov 24th, 2004, 03:42 AM
I don't know how to paste the article in a way that it appears on the page (I'm too old for this), so I'll just paste link.

Nothing much, just a few statistics and some history.

http://www.sportnetwork.net/main/s133/st61793.htm

lakan kildap
Nov 26th, 2004, 01:30 AM
and how did we manage to miss this one?
http://msn.foxsports.com/story/3175494

anyone want to flood that writer's e-mail account with protests?

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Nov 26th, 2004, 02:04 AM
STupid myskina...

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Nov 26th, 2004, 04:48 AM
http://cache.wtnphotos.com/545/21238794051myskina.jpg

lakan kildap
Nov 26th, 2004, 05:12 AM
http://cache.wtnphotos.com/545/21238794051myskina.jpg

"Tennis racket meets round object full of air."

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Nov 26th, 2004, 05:18 AM
"Tennis racket meets round object full of air."
:lol:

Josh B.
Nov 26th, 2004, 10:32 AM
That picture is an absolute CLASSIC!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ROFLMAO


Thats what she gets for showing off!!

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Nov 26th, 2004, 06:10 PM
That picture is an absolute CLASSIC!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ROFLMAO


Thats what she gets for showing off!!

Very well said! :lol:

faust
Nov 29th, 2004, 02:13 AM
'twas rilly stupid of myskina... :tape: :fiery:

lakan kildap
Dec 13th, 2004, 04:26 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=1944106

Maria to endorse TAG Heuer.

Unlike cameras, I have no brand loyalty with watches, so I'm switching.

Dan23
Dec 13th, 2004, 04:32 AM
Unlike cameras, I have no brand loyalty with watches, so I'm switching.:lol:


All told, Sharapova figures to earn at least $15 million in marketing next year.:eek:

Princess Sarah.
Dec 13th, 2004, 04:51 AM
maybe she can buy me a car and some driving lessons:(

Daniel
Dec 13th, 2004, 06:13 AM
she could afford to buy cars for everyone in this thread :D :D

faust
Dec 14th, 2004, 03:08 AM
y r there some people angry bout maria acceptin endorsments (like tag for the latest)...and sayin that she is not thnking over it well... i really dont get them... :confused:

lakan kildap
Dec 14th, 2004, 04:53 AM
We're not that angry. At least, I'm not. We're just concerned, OK, I personally, am just concerned that the endorsements may be affecting her behaviour to the point where she can't do anything without appearing like she's shilling for Canon, Motorola or TAG. Like now, after every match, she breaks out the Motorola, and while we all know she did that in Wimbledon even before she got the Motorola deal, whenever she does that now, she may not appear as spontaneous and sincere as she did back in July.

But again, personally, I'm glad she's making extra money.

Dan23
Dec 14th, 2004, 05:35 AM
Agreed Lakan :)

Princess Sarah.
Dec 14th, 2004, 05:38 AM
it's all about the bloody dosh!
send some my way

Dan23
Dec 14th, 2004, 06:36 AM
Article from TagHeuer.com where Maria is on the front page :D
http://www.tagheuer.com/whatsnew/events.lbl?mode=Detail&region=International&news=F9D5B9B3-EA8E-4582-A2B3-276AF40A2C27

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova TAG Heuer, the prestigious Swiss sports watch and chronograph brand and the fourth largest luxury brand in the world watch market, is proud to announce that the young and charismatic tennis champion Maria Sharapova becomes its newest brand female ambassador
As, the new star of world tennis and, at 17-years-old only, already the winner of 2004 Wimbledon and WTA year-end championships, Maria Sharapova has signed a long-term ambassador agreement with the Swiss watchmaking legend, covering product development, advertising, public relations and merchandising.
"I am ecstatic," says Maria Sharapova, the 17-years-old Russian tennis star, and the third youngest Wimbledon Champion in WTA history. "To represent a brand as legendary as TAG Heuer is a great honor. TAG Heuer has been teaming with the greatest champions in the history of sports, renowned athletes like Carl Lewis, Ayrton Senna or nowadays Tiger Woods, and famous teams like Ferrari and McLaren. To me, TAG Heuer is the most prestigious luxury partner I can dream of, as legendary and glamorous as the individuals and teams with which it is so closely related, and yet at the same time ultra-fashionable and feminine. It's a perfect fit for me, as I love high tech, glamour and winning. I look forward to building a strong relationship with TAG Heuer in the coming years."
“In just two seasons Maria Sharapova has made her mark on the WTA pro tennis circuit, quickly advancing to the 4th singles 2004 WTA rankings, and winning two of the most famous tournaments in tennis," says Jean-Christophe Babin, TAG Heuer’s President and Chief Executive Officer. "Off the court, her beauty and grace have romanced the fashion world, with profiles in leading fashion magazines, and the launch of her own perfume. She is truly a phenomenon. Determined, passionate and audacious, she has shown extraordinary character in taking on the best players in professional tennis and winning. At the same time she is graceful and extraordinarily feminine. Maria Sharapova works hard to be the best she can be, yet remains true to the joy and passion she feels for the game. Nobody in the world of sports better than Maria embodies the fusion of sport with glamour, and therefore TAG Heuer core positioning”.
“She's the perfect TAG Heuer Ambassador, an ideal representative of the brand's core values of passion, prestige and performance, which have driven the TAG Heuer brand in its pursuit of perfection for 145 years. We are very excited that she is joining the TAG Heuer Team, and she will go a long way toward reinforcing the brand's profile in the professional tennis world, which goes back to our "Inner Strength" campaign in the 1990s, when Boris Becker and Monica Seles were TAG Heuer Ambassadors." Mr Babin concludes.


Maria Sharapova and the TAG Heuer Formula 1 and 2000/Aquaracer series

Like her fellow TAG Heuer Ambassadors, which include golfing legend Tiger Woods, Formula 1 race driver Kimi Raikkonen and world freediving Champion Tanya Streeter, Maria Sharapova will be directly involved in the development of new TAG Heuer products. In particular, the new ambassador will share her insights on the TAG Heuer Formula 1 and 2000/Aquaracer series, which reflects her sporting allure and distinctively young and feminine appeal.
After more than 20 years on the market, the 2000/Aquaracer Series, a must-have sportswatch, is one of TAG Heuer's most successful and emblematic designs, admired for its dress up/dress down versatility. Dramatically and regularly upgraded since 1982, the 2000 Series are singularly elegant timepieces that express both sportiness and femininity especially with its mother of pearl and diamonds versions. They are the ideal accessories for successful women like Maria Sharapova--seriously stylish, yet competitive athletes at the top of their game.

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 series was born in 1986 and relaunched in grand style early 2004 as the casual sportwatch, initially with a masculine range of colorful men’s watches and chronographs. Young Formula 1 driver Kimi Raïkkönen has been the ambassador epitomizing the TAG Heuer Formula 1 in advertising. With Maria’s input and collaboration, TAG Heuer will introduce in 2005 feminine versions of the TAG Heuer Formula 1, ideally as “Sparkling and sporty” as Maria.
The multi years contract between TAG Heuer and Maria Sharapova will begin December 12th, 2004.

Maria Sharapova will soon be the newest face to be showcased extensively in the famous TAG Heuer advertising campaign, “What are you made of ?" shot by world famous photographer Patrick Demarchelier and to be disclosed early 2005.

Princess Sarah.
Dec 14th, 2004, 06:39 AM
"To represent a brand as legendary as TAG Heuer is a great honor. TAG Heuer has been teaming with the greatest champions in the history of sports, renowned athletes like Carl Lewis, Ayrton Senna or nowadays Tiger Woods, and famous teams like Ferrari and McLaren. To me, TAG Heuer is the most prestigious luxury partner I can dream of, as legendary and glamorous as the individuals and teams with which it is so closely related, and yet at the same time ultra-fashionable and feminine. It's a perfect fit for me, as I love high tech, glamour and winning. I look forward to building a strong relationship with TAG Heuer in the coming years."

that sounds oh so rehersed

lakan kildap
Dec 14th, 2004, 09:37 AM
sarah,
she has to earn her paycheck.

I can tell you this much, though. TAG's are quite an item here, where I live. just below Omega and Rolex.

I'm switching. From Timex :lol:

faust
Dec 15th, 2004, 06:39 AM
lakan kildap, can u give me a model of timex? :confused:

lakan kildap
Dec 15th, 2004, 08:44 AM
Philippines only? Aside from Robert Jaworski in the early (really early) 80's, no, I don't know of anyone who modeled Timex. Jaworski wasn't a good endorser, even though he was wildly popular. Timex, Juvelon E-Plus, his own line of clothing, none of them sold well in the Philippines. The mineral water (Viva) and Ginebra don't count because those were already popular before his endorsement.

But there might have been a Timex model in the US.

Of course, Timex are plastic watches, which is about as far away from the TAG and most other Swiss watches as it can get.

Their "Indiglo" backlight was cool, though. There's a variant of it in just about every product with an LCD screen nowadays, although the color may be different (orange, green, etc.)

lakan kildap
Dec 16th, 2004, 09:01 AM
http://msn.foxsports.com/story/3252234

goldenlox
Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:47 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/story/0,10069,1377412,00.html?gusrc=rss

the cat
Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:03 PM
Thanks for that excellent article, Goldenlox. :)

the cat
Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:03 PM
Thanks for that excellent article, Goldenlox. :)

Dan23
Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:59 PM
Yeah, very good article, thanks GL :hatoff:

Princess Sarah.
Dec 22nd, 2004, 11:03 PM
there was an article about how she wont be playing sydney in todays daily terror (telegraph)

Princess Sarah.
Dec 22nd, 2004, 11:07 PM
enjoy
Teen star won't play in Sydney

By LEO SCHLINK

December 23, 2004

TENNIS starlet Maria Sharapova will be restricted to just one Australian summer circuit appearance – the centenary Australian Open next month – because of sport's age eligibility restrictions.

The world No.4 – already a Wimbledon champion and winner of the elite Women's Tennis Association Championships – cannot yet play a full schedule because she is still 17.

Restricted to a total of 22 events between her 17th and 18th birthdays – which she will celebrate on April 19 – Sharapova has already appeared in 15 tournaments.

And, with an aim to usurping American Lindsay Davenport as world No.1, the Russian is focusing on tournaments offering the most ranking points.




The programming squeeze has caused the unflappable right-hander to bypass the rich Medibank Private International (January 9-15) at Homebush Bay, where nine of the world's top 12 competitors will do battle.

When asked why Sharapova had not bothered to enter Sydney, her agent Max Eisenbud said: "Just didn't fit into her schedule."

WTA spokesman John Dolan confirmed Sharapova would instead play an exhibition in Hong Kong in the first week of January.

"I think she likes having a week off before a slam," he said.

Sharapova will use the week of the Sydney tournament to practise at Melbourne Park, where she hopes to add the Australian Open to a relentless Russian purge of the majors.

Until Anastasia Myskina won the French Open at Roland Garros in May, no Russian woman had prevailed in the highest arenas.

Sharapova quickly followed, stunning defending champion Serena Williams in straight sets at the All-England Club before Svetlana Kuznetskova downed compatriot Elena Dementieva in the US Open at Flushing Meadow.

Given her heroics at the WTA season-ender in Los Angeles, Sharapova will confident of creating more mayhem at Rod Laver Arena from January 17-30.

The statuesque baseliner won 55 of 70 matches, landing five singles titles and more than $US2.5million prizemoney – a season-topping figure dwarfed by her marketing harvest.

Already backed by Nike and Prince, Siberian-born Sharapova has now signed an endorsement deal with watchmaker Tag Heuer.

Her Wimbledon victory completed the ultimate rags to riches tale.

She was wisked to Florida to train by her almost bankrupt father Yuri when she was only nine, leading to a two-year separation from her mother Yelena because of immigration and financial problems.

First spotted by Martina Navratilova during a Moscow exhibition, Sharapova has rocketed to fame after honing her game at Nick Bollettieri's famed Bradenton tennis ranch.

Her marketability has seen her sign with IMG models.

Sharapova was beaten in the third round of the last Australian Open by Myskina in a tight three-setter.

Andy Mac
Dec 24th, 2004, 12:03 AM
nice articles boys!

faust
Dec 24th, 2004, 04:40 AM
restiricted thats bull!! :lol:
nice article though... ;)

Dan23
Dec 30th, 2004, 04:32 AM
Theyre still going with this :rolleyes:
Its getting a bit over the top now...

From Russia with love lost
By: Agencies
December 30, 2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
London: Australia will be the battleground next month for the civil war of Russian tennis.

The temperature will be as chilly as a Moscow winter in the corridors of Melbourne Park when Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and her entourage, including her controversial father Yuri, come across the other players responsible for the Russian revolution in women’s tennis.

It will be Sharapova’s first tournament since Grand Slam winners Anastasia Myskina and Svetlana Kuznetsova lent a clear voice in the past month to murmurings of discontent about their distant relationship with the game’s marketable new superstar.

French Open winner Myskina, surprisingly chosen last week as the ITF female world champion for 2004, said she would not play for Russia’s Fed Cup team next year if Sharapova plays.

Kuznetsova, a bolter US Open winner, told an interviewer Sharapova was the most popular Russian player.

“But I don’t know if you would call her Russian though,” she said earlier this month.

Russian Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev has said he will advocate Sharapova’s inclusion next year, leaving Myskina, who won two singles matches in her country’s Fed Cup final victory, in a dilemma on whether to back down.

But Sharapova’s budding celebrity, driven by corporate desire to link their business to her good looks and her remarkable success story, means there will be very few willing to say no to her.

Earlier this month, a lucrative sponsorship for Sharapova with an international watch manufacturer was announced, and teen said she would reject opportunities that required her to “work 30 days a year if some stupid company offers you millions of dollars”.

Quite apart from her abrasive father and the natural competitiveness between top players from the same nation, Sharapova’s lack of support among Russian mates is also because they regard her as more American than Russian.

At seven, she left her home in Siberia with her father to train at a Florida tennis academy and she has some of the accent characteristics of an American.

Russian tennis supplies seven of the top 15 players to the WTA rankings — Myskina (3), Sharapova (4), Kuznetsova (5), Elena Dementieva (6), Vera Zvonareva (11), Nadia Petrova (12) and Elena Bovina (15).

Their rise provided a problem for WTA Tour in helping casual tennis watchers tell one from the other.

Lemonskin.
Dec 30th, 2004, 12:04 PM
EvilKuzzie and EvilNasty at it again :rolleyes:

lakan kildap
Jan 3rd, 2005, 08:44 AM
I think I can safely say fans won't have a hard time telling Maria apart from the other Russians.

It's like what Bob Costas said about Jordan (and Mickey Mantle, actually, Costas said this after Mantle died). A complete stranger who has never seen Michael Jordan play, would still be able to tell him apart from the other players on the floor, even without uniform numbers and names on the jerseys. He's the beautiful one. The same could be said of Mickey Mantle.

And for Maria Sharapova.

Russia-Rulez
Jan 3rd, 2005, 11:15 AM
Maria Sharapova has donated $10.000,- to the tsunami disaster in Asia.....

BANGKOK (AFP) - Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, due to play an exhibition match in Thailand against Venus Williams, will donate 10,000 dollars to help victims of the killer tsunamis that hit the kingdom, a minister said.

Deputy Prime Minister and tennis association head Suwat Liptapanlop said the Russian starlet, scheduled to arrive in Bangkok late Wednesday, had notified him about her generosity.

"She informed us that she wanted to donate 10,000 dollars of her own money to the government's victim relief fund," Suwat told AFP.

The fund, launched on Tuesday, had already received donations amounting to 108 million baht (2.77 million dollars), according to media reports.

Although a gala dinner to be held for Sharapova and Williams would be cancelled out of respect for the unprecedented loss of life, the match scheduled for January 2 in the northern city of Chiang Mai was due to go ahead.



Source: Yahoo! Sports (http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/041229/3/8800.html)

faust
Jan 3rd, 2005, 12:00 PM
wow she donated 10 gran!
thats rily so generous of her... :angel:
btw is 10,000 that BIG of a donation considerin its from a sports player?? :confused:

Josh B.
Jan 3rd, 2005, 08:26 PM
wow she donated 10 gran!
thats rily so generous of her... :angel:
btw is 10,000 that BIG of a donation considerin its from a sports player?? :confused:


Any donation is good.

It doesnt matter who you are and how much you give, the main thing is that you have given money for donation!

That is rare of me to type a post like this!

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING!

lakan kildap
Jan 4th, 2005, 01:38 AM
I'm not excusing anything, but I think what faust had just done, although I'm guessing here, is prepare us for the onslaught of "she's so stingy" criticisms from the Maria-haters, Ink. (I'm a bad speller). When I saw footage from CNN of her handing the check over, my reaction was "Oh (expletive), now the haters have something to aim at again."

But the thought isn't lost on me. Any donation is good, no matter the amount given. Given the staggering scale of the devastation, even millions of dollars seem small at this time. But that shouldn't discourage us from giving.

Besides, she's not even in control of her money yet. She's only (drum roll please) 17.

Dan23
Jan 4th, 2005, 02:35 AM
You missed it already Lakan ;)
There was a thread in the GM about the donation last week and a few ( :retard: ) haters still found a reason to critisise Maria for making this donation :)

faust
Jan 5th, 2005, 01:21 PM
oh shooot...im sori...ive done it.. :p
my question bout how much, was just a question out curiousity u know im not much exposed bout this kind of things... :smash: :smash:

well, it doesnt matter how much, its the thought that counts...and from a 17 yearold, tis really something... :rolleyes:

faust
Jan 5th, 2005, 01:22 PM
btw what reasons bout the haters?? :confused:

ginger_fish668
Jan 21st, 2005, 12:50 PM
Sharapova's Sponsorships Leave Russian Rivals Lagging

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova arrived for the Australian Open in Melbourne wearing free Nike Inc. shoes and a Tag Heuer watch provided by her sponsors. Svetlana Kuznetsova, her Russian colleague who won the U.S. Open, is still seeking a first major company to support her.

Sharapova's off-court earnings, which SportBusiness International magazine said will total at least $15 million this year, are 10 times more than those of Kuznetsova and French Open winner Anastasia Myskina. Part of Sharapova's advantage is that she's lived in Florida the past 10 years, according to Myskina's manager Mark Gandler.

``She's a Grand Slam winner and speaks very good English,'' Russia-born Gandler, 48, a founder of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey- based International Sports Advisors, said in a phone interview. ``And she's perceived as being an American.''

Sharapova is the only one of Russia's Grand Slam event winners last year to have cracked an endorsement market valued by the IEG Sponsorship Report at $30.4 billion. Since beating Serena Williams to become the third-youngest Wimbledon champion at age 17, she signed contracts with Nike, the largest athletic-shoe maker; Tag Heuer International SA, a unit of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA; Motorola Inc., the No. 2 maker of mobile phones; Canon Inc., the second-biggest seller of digital cameras, and perfume maker Parlux Fragrances Inc.

Matching Serena

She appeared on NBC's ``Tonight Show'' with Jay Leno and CBS's ``Inside Edition,'' and was the first tennis player in more than two years to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Sharapova has flourished off court as much as Williams. The 23-year-old American makes about $15 million a year in agreements with Nike Inc., Wilson Sporting Goods Co., McDonald's Corp., and Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., her agent Jill Smoller said.

Max Eisenbud, Sharapova's agent, declined an interview request.

Russian players dominated women's tennis last year, winning three of the four Grand Slams and taking four of the top six world ranking positions. Sharapova, No. 4, led the circuit with more than $2.5 million in prize money, and third-ranked Myskina helped Russia to an inaugural win in the Federation Cup, the sport's most prestigious women's team event.

Easy Win

Seven-time WTA Tour winner Sharapova took 50 minutes to beat China's Na Li today and advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time. She's the second favorite behind Serena Williams at Australia's Centrebet to win the year's first Grand Slam. Kuznetsova also reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time today, while Myskina was a quarterfinalist the past two years.

Sharapova isn't the first Russian player to earn millions from sponsors. Anna Kournikova, 23, used to make more from endorsements than any other female athlete, according to Chicago- based Burns Sports & Celebrities, even though she never won a title on the women's elite tour. She last played a professional tournament in May 2003.

Today's Russian players trail Sharapova's success in winning endorsements partly because Russian companies are now more interested in soccer, Lawrence Frankopan, 27, who manages Kuznetsova, said in a phone interview. OAO Sibneft, the country's fifth-largest oil producer, has a three-year contract worth $54 million with CSKA Moscow.

Worsening Situation

``It's difficult to target anyone with money in Russia,'' Frankopan said. ``The big companies, like oil firms, aren't what you normally associate with tennis, and there are no carmakers, fashion houses or telecommunication giants.''

Further, Russian companies don't need as much publicity as they did immediately after the fall of communism in 1991, Shamil Tarpischev, the president of the Russian Tennis Association, said in an interview.

``The situation is worse that it was five or 10 years ago,'' said Tarpischev, also captain of Russia's Fed Cup team. ``When they were just starting out, they needed the publicity, now they're up and running, they don't need it.''

The Russian domination of women's tennis in 2004 began when Myskina beat countrywoman Elena Dementieva to win the French Open. Since then, the 23-year-old Myskina has tried and failed to get endorsements from Russian companies, Gandler said. Her sole agreement since winning in Paris is a one-year contract with fruit-juice maker Tropicana Inc., a unit of PepsiCo Inc.

Russian companies prefer to hire show business celebrities because they're cheaper, said Dementieva's agent, Maya Belyaeva.

Still Waiting

Dementieva, who speaks English, French and Russian, signed a one-year contract with Samsung Corp., the fourth-biggest seller of cellular phones in the U.S., at the end of 2003 that's being extended to this year, Belyaeva said. She declined to give terms of the deal.

Kuznetsova, a 19-year-old who trains in Spain, is still seeking her first major sponsorship, Frankopan said. Winning the U.S. Open hasn't helped so far, probably because Russian women have been so dominant, he said.

``Because three Russians won Grand Slams last year, it's somewhat diluted their uniqueness and marketability,'' he said.



I wonder why they don't mention THE most obvious reason Masha gets more sponsorship- because she's beautiful! ;)

faust
Jan 22nd, 2005, 02:43 AM
I wonder why they don't mention THE most obvious reason Masha gets more sponsorship- because she's beautiful! ;)


maybe they wanted it to be more professional. not seeing things just by her looks.(i think)

Arhivarius
Mar 12th, 2005, 02:14 AM
"Sharapova eyes top spot"- nice short article on Eurosport.
http://www.eurosport.com/home/pages/v4/l0/s57/e7392/sport_lng0_spo57_evt7392_sto695777.shtml

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Mar 12th, 2005, 05:57 AM
fun...

goldenlox
Mar 14th, 2005, 04:57 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/columns/story?id=2009182

Andy Mac
Mar 14th, 2005, 06:51 PM
thanks goldenlox....:yeah:
and duiz...W-T-Frig is up with yur name?

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Mar 15th, 2005, 10:21 PM
nottin'

goldenlox
Apr 6th, 2005, 03:35 PM
A new Maria interview -

http://www.izvestia.ru/sport/article1535658

Warrior
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:13 PM
Thanks

Dan23
Apr 6th, 2005, 11:50 PM
Thanks a lot GL :cool:

Maria Sharapova: Right after tournament in Miami I have consulted with my dad, the doctor and the trainer, and we came to a conclusion, that physically I am not ready to play for the combined team this year. It appears, for the present season I have already played 25 matches: it is 10 more, than one year ago. But I feel it and without any rest. If I now should fly to prepare for clay courts, I simply physically could not make it. My body is not ready. I should have a rest.

News: who all the same has made the decision? And who in the greater degree has affected it?

Sharapova: It was the command decision. Basically - my dad and the doctor. And I - I feel court. After tournament in Miami I feel very much tired. I in fact all the same have lost not in the fourth round, not in a semifinal, and in the final.

News: And sponsors, agents?

Sharapova: No, my life is controlled only by me and people close to me. Health now the question is mine and the sports form. Sponsors and business here at anything.

News: Why was required to time for meditations so much? In fact the invitation has come to combined team for a long time...

Sharapova: In the beginning of year we did not know, how many I shall play matches as myself I shall feel. Nobody likes to lose in the third - fourth rounds but then at least you have time to be restored. And when each time you reach a final - semifinal... Week after a week... To me of 17 years, and I understood, that my body is not ready for such big loading.

News: what exactly disturbs you?

Sharapova: Since December ive had 3 MRI's. It seemed to me, that there was a microtrauma of a wrist - after championship WTA of the last year. But problems were from loading and from heavy balls, the tomography has revealed nothing. (phew..) All has passed with rest and exercises on strengthening. Then something happened with my back, began in Australia, I played there through a pain. I do not like to complain and search for an excuse. Simply last three months were gave out heavy. There was no time to sit and продышаться, to take care of itself.

News: And what doctors speak?

Sharapova: That all will be in the order, it is necessary to give my body rest simply. Sometimes shake their head, looking at me, do not understand, how I can play tennis. My doctor Anatoly Glebov speaks, that at me a muscle insufficiently strong supposedly I can not also five kgs on each hand to lift.

News: What program for April?

Sharapova: Недельку отдохну, and then I shall start to work on clay court, to strengthen that requires strengthening. I shall miss tournaments in Amelia and the Charleston, next time I shall play only in Berlin in the beginning of May.

News: the Decision concerning combined team is accepted only on the first round of the Fed Cup or for all season?

Sharapova: For all season. It seems to me, it will be dishonest in relation to a team if I shall not play the first round, and then suddenly times - and has wanted. Girls will be played, will win the permit in a semifinal, the final - and here I leave?

News: Time speech has gone about a team... The Former conflicts about which so the press much wrote, have somehow affected your decision?

Sharapova: As I have told, a principal cause - my physical condition. Certainly, I would like and it is insulting, when there were conversations about my dad, especially after I have successfully acted in championship WТА. And when the trainer of combined team frankly was ill(sick) against me in Los Angeles... I at all do not know. Unless so it is possible, when play two Russians? But I try to throw out such things from a head. Now for me the most important - to be prepared for a long season and when will come it is time to play for combined team, I hope, all will be in the past.

News: And when this will come is time? With what you see the following steps in dialogue with Federation of tennis of Russia?

Sharapova: I think, at the end of this season it will be possible to discuss plans for 2006.

News: Masha, all of you speak time " when I shall play for combined team of Russia " as though it by itself азумеющийся the fact, and we should be typed(collected) only patiences. And meanwhile hearings go, that to you the USA suggest to support combined team, to change citizenship. Whether because of it postpone the debut in the Cup of federation?

Sharapova: No. It is delirium. To me anything such did not offer, but even if would suggest, I shall play only for Russia, instead of for America.

News: What, except for the passport, allows you to count itself the Russian?

Sharapova: I was born in Russia... At me still there the big family... Unless I should explain it? And unless it is possible to explain it? It should be felt simply. I know, that at me blood Russian. Near to Americans first of all I feel myself Russian.

News: In what language your dreams?

Sharapova: I at all do not know... But I think usually in Russian.

News: And it is necessary to speak more...

Sharapova: If I at home or in hotel with mum, always in Russian. And on court - my trainer understands only in English...

News: you count yourselves the leader of the Russian tennis?

Sharapova: (for an instant falters) the Leader of the Russian tennis?.. While, apparently, yes. I the third in the world. And on court I feel each time, that I present Russia. And on Olympiad - 2008 I shall support Russia.

News: you are really personally familiar with Vladimir Putin?

Sharapova: Only in absentia. He calls to me, congratulates on victories. All bells - on five, it is no more minutes. Each time speaks, that for me wait in Moscow, that warmly will accept. Good, kind words.

News: And when for you to wait in Moscow?

Sharapova: On the Cup of the Kremlin this year I shall come necessarily.

Maria Croft
Apr 7th, 2005, 10:34 AM
It's good that she takes some rest !! thanx for the article !!

DrChemicalX
Apr 7th, 2005, 11:43 AM
Fantastic article, i love the way maria says Tomography, it reminds me of the Physics of MRI book i have read... she is so smart that girl :)

DrChemicalX
Apr 9th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Maria Sharapova - A combination of fire and ice

By LINDA ROBERTSON

Miami Herald


KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - Maria Sharapova, 17 and as innocent as a beautiful, magnetic, rich, teenaged tennis and corporate superstar can be, did not hesitate for a second to open up her big pink purse when she was asked what was inside.

``I don't have a Chihuahua yet, but I have my cellphone, my iPod, a John Grisham book, sunscreen if anyone needs some, and I have a Sharpie,'' she said Thursday, holding up each item.

``No dog, but maybe soon,'' she said, laughing like a girl without a care in the world.

Don't let her fool you. There are two faces of Maria. The smooth and smiling one, photographed by Vogue and coveted by Canon, Motorola and Tag Heuer, the one that has launched 100 websites. Or the fierce and furrowed one, the one that lets out shrieks and grunts that would make Linda Blair blush.

Sharapova will share her sunscreen with you off the court, but on it, she will burn you. In a NASDAQ-100 Open semifinal, Venus Williams felt the blows of Sharapova - a fighter in a pink dress. Williams finally caved, after six break points, to a slender kid who is as relentless as the Siberian winter.

Sharapova grew up in Florida, in the sheltered and programmed world of Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy, but she has the ice of her native Nyagan, Russia, in her veins.

Against Williams, she refused to yield a single service break in a ruggedly efficient 6-4, 6-3 victory. She kept Williams scrambling from corner to corner, denying Williams an opening to attack as she did so well Tuesday against her sister, Serena. Williams said she felt inexplicably tired after a day off, which led to an abundance of errors, her usual bugaboo. She managed a mini-rally when Sharapova served for the match leading 5-3, but fell behind 0-40. Williams had a turning point in her grip, but Sharapova yanked it away, screeching back to deuce and neutralizing three more break points with crosscourt groundstrokes. She pounded her thighs, clenched her fists. The resolve was palpable. There was no way she would let Williams break her serve.

WILL TO SUCCEED

Sharapova transferred that will into her shots as Williams wilted. After two Williams forehands thudded long, Sharapova was the winner. She fell to her hands and knees and slapped the court. Eight months after her Wimbledon breakthrough, she's in the final of tennis' ``fifth major.''

``I wanted to do my best and just fight till the end,'' Sharapova said.

Women's tennis has hit the jackpot. It has an enchanting pit bull as its new star. Forget the Anna Kournikova comparisons. Sharapova is a champion.

Her story isn't quite the fairy tale of the Williams sisters, who went from Compton, Calif., to Centre Court. But it is inspiring. Sharapova and father Yuri left Russia when she was 7, with a borrowed $700, and took a bus from Miami to Bollettieri's place, where Yuri worked odd jobs until he had enough money to bring wife Yelena over.

Sharapova was groomed for greatness. Her team at IMG has carefully cultivated her image and portfolio. Her endorsements total $20 million, making her the highest-paid female athlete in the world. She has a perfume called Maria coming out in September. But she fights off those distractions as she does opponents, going to the place that is her sanctuary and stage.

``I've always been really, really happy on the court. When I'm on the court, everything around me goes away,'' she said. ``All my worries, all my things that I do off the court - they go away.''

What a feeling that must be.

DESIRE AT ANY AGE

On Thursday, it was interesting to see the contrast between quarterfinal winner Andre Agassi, at 34 as intense as he was at 24, and Williams, 24 and struggling from match to match to rediscover the fire and joy she had at Sharapova's age. So much in sports is determined by talent, but just as much hinges on desire.

Williams described her busy life as ``unpredictable,'' because ``people are always calling, `Can you do this?' `Can you do that?' `Please come here.' `Please come there.' `Do this.' `Do that.' Things come up like you wouldn't believe.''

Sharapova feels the same tugs, but isn't really tempted by them. Not yet. At 17, her drive is still fresh and has to be fed rather than coaxed.

``I think that's what motivates me, is when I have five days off and I'm doing shoots or I'm doing whatever I am for my sponsors, I'm really hungry to get back on the court, because that's where I feel, `This is what I do, this is my joy and I love it,' '' she said.

How long can she sustain that will to win? It's a question that has dangled over so many tennis starlets. Now it's Sharapova's turn to find out.

no1mariafan
Apr 17th, 2005, 12:29 PM
http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/42791.htm

April 17, 2005 -- Last week, in a blowout party sponsored by Motorola and attended by 660 of her close personal friends, tennis star Maria Sharapova - who has more than $20 million in endorsements - celebrated her coming-of-age. The golden girl finally turns 18 on Tuesday. We caught up with Sharapova before her big soiree to find out what, exactly, makes one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world tick - and what her charmed teenage life is really like.

Q:Did you know from the moment you first picked up a racquet that tennis would be your thing?
A:I was just very competitive when I was younger. When I first picked up a tennis racquet, people - including Martina Navratilova - saw that, and they told my parents that I had a lot of talent. I think that tennis really brought out the competitive spirit in me and, after I began training, my talent picked up from there. If I weren't playing tennis, I probably wouldn't be playing any other sport. I guess you could say that tennis is the great love of my life right now.

Q:Do you remember much about arriving in the United States from Russia to train at Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy?
A:I don't remember a lot, but I do remember coming to America and training a lot in Florida. I didn't see my mom for the first two years, because she was still in Russia.

Q:I read that you were bullied a lot by other students.
A:The other girls at the tennis academy were a lot older than me and, obviously, had different interests than I did at that age. I just didn't pay attention to it. I guess you could say I was pretty tough from the beginning. I was like, "Whatever." I remember being a big fan of Pippi Longstocking. She did whatever she wanted to do, and she just had a lot of fun with her life, even when things seemed really bad. She would always try to make things better. After my mother came over, when I was 9, I moved out of the dorms.

Q:Everyone who interviews you writes "Maria is all about tennis." What are some of your other interests?
A:Tennis is my No.1 priority, as always. But I'm very interested in fashion. That's something I'd love to pursue after my tennis career - I want to be a fashion designer and I want to have my own line. I've always been crazy for style and fashion. Ever since I was young, I've always wanted to look really cool.

Q:Who's your favorite designer?
A:I love Marc Jacobs. His clothes are so girly, but very classy at the same time. Wearing his clothes make you feel like a princess - and so cute! I haven't had the chance to meet him yet. Even though I've been invited to many of his shows, my tennis schedule always conflicts.

Q:What do you do in your free time?
A:I go shopping a lot - I like to call it retail therapy. New York has got to be one of the best shopping cities in the world. These days, I'm really into boutiques. I also love shopping in Japan because you can find different, unique pieces that no one else will have. The sizes are different there, so I can never buy shoes, but I love buying really cropped jackets - they're really cute over jeans.

Q:You must have so many clothes! What do you pack when you travel?
A:Traveling is really hard, because you can't take more than two suitcases with you. What I pack depends on where I go. But my must-have item this season is definitely my pair of Giuseppe Zanotti cowboy boots.

Q:What about school?
A:I'm enrolled in high school on the Internet - Keystone National High School. My favorite subject is biology, but I'm terrible at math. I really respect people who can do math, because I absolutely suck at it. English is really hard, but I do like literature a lot. I've also done a lot of electives - like art, music, sociology and health.

Q:Do you ever feel like you're missing out?
A:I've never really had the experience of being in a school environment, so it's hard to say that I miss something I never knew.

Q:How do you meet people your age?
A:I travel a lot and it's not easy to make friends now. I tend to stick with the close friends and family that I had before I was famous and popular, because I know that they like me for who I am.

Q:How does your fame affect your everyday life?
A:I usually have a bodyguard during tournament events, but on an everyday basis I just go out with my friends. It's not that bad yet.

Q:You were in the March issue of Vogue. What was that like?
A:It turned out to be a really cool shoot. It was a really rainy day in Los Angeles and we shot a bunch of different outfits, but they chose to run the picture of the green Prada dress and the Alexander McQueen shoes. I was looking out the window and the look was really natural.

Q:What kind of advice can you give to other teenage girls?
A:In your teens, you go through a lot of weird moments when you might not feel secure and might feel like everything's wrong in your life. Even though I've never felt really insecure, but there are times when I'm having a bad day, when nothing's going my way, and I'm like, "When's this going to end?" You just have to stay positive.

Q:How do you relax and cheer yourself up on your days off?
A:Usually through some retail therapy!

Q:Do you have anything new coming up?
A:My new perfume is launching in September. It's called Maria by Maria Sharapova. It's been one of the most fun processes of all - I designed the whole thing, from the bottle to the packaging to the scent. It's a light, floral, everyday fragrance. I wanted to make sure it was long-lasting. It's not something you smell and then want to step away from. And I have a new video game coming out - I-play Maria Sharapova Tennis.

Q:Tell us one surprising thing about yourself.
A:I'm naturally a lefty but I play right-handed tennis. I kick and throw with my left hand. I used to write with my left hand when I was younger, but now I write with my right.

Age: 18
Height: 6 feet
Favorite food: chocolate souffl‚
Favorite TV show: "The OC," "24"
Favorite Perfume: Gucci 2 Rush, Marc Jacobs
Favorite Movies: "Mona Lisa Smile," "Something's Gotta Give"
Favorite Colors: Pink, Orange
Dream dinner companion: Gwyneth Paltrow - "I've always found her to be very elegant. She has her own sense of style and she's not trying to be anyone else. She's always classy in her own way." - and Gisele Bundchen - "She has a great personality and a great body."

What's on your iPod? I've been listening to Maroon 5 for the last few weeks.

The OC :cool:

Dan23
Apr 17th, 2005, 01:28 PM
:D thanks Tom ;)
Haha some of things Maria says are so cute....reminds you that shes just a teenage girl..

Dan23
Apr 17th, 2005, 01:36 PM
Gotta get me a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti cowboy boots :haha: :cool:

clementine
Apr 21st, 2005, 09:28 PM
This appeared in our local paper today. :cool:

Maria Croft
Apr 22nd, 2005, 10:22 AM
Nice, thanx !!

3 should be 'D' number 2 !!

Dan23
May 16th, 2005, 06:43 AM
An article about Maria's return to Wimbledon this year :D
http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/articles/2005-05-12/200505121115413197782.html

goldenlox
Jun 4th, 2005, 02:55 PM
http://cache-1.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/allsportsharapovadfstrophy.jpg Sharapova - won at Edgbaston last year (Getty Images).
SHARAPOVA RELISHING GRASS RETURN



Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova is hoping history will repeat itself as she steps up the preparations for the defence of her crown at the DFS Classic in Edgbaston next week.

Sharapova, 18, was a virtual unknown outside tennis circles this time last year when she arrived in Birmingham to take part in the DFS event.

But she won both the singles and the doubles titles at the DFS before going on to announce herself on the world stage with her triumph in the Wimbledon final against Serena Williams.

A repeat of the events in both Birmingham and at Wimbledon is now her main aim.

Having been knocked out of the French Open at the quarter-final stage by Justine Henin-Hardenne, world number two Sharapova had no hesitation in opting to take part in the DFS event as she hones her preparations for the defence of her Wimbledon title.

She relishes the chance of playing on grass again and is pleased to be back where she made her break into the big time.

"A lot of things have changed in the last year but I am still the same person," said Sharapova, who will face either Tatiana Perebiynis of Ukraine or Anne Kremer of Luxembourg when she launches her campaign in the second round on Tuesday.

"It all started for me on the grass courts and I am very happy to be back in Birmingham," she said.

"It is a very quiet place and it is one of those tournaments where things are not very hectic.

"I can relax and concentrate more on my tennis rather than being in the public eye when I get to Wimbledon.

"I think it is a really great warm-up for Wimbledon. I have always enjoyed playing here and so I thought why not come back.

"Of course what happened to me last year was amazing. I was playing really great tennis here and went on to win Wimbledon so being here does bring back great memories and hopefully I can enjoy similar success again.

"I can't believe it has been a whole year already."

Sharapova knows that as the defending champion at both the DFS and Wimbledon, the pressure on her will be intense over the next month.

But that is something she revels in and she added: "I have never really taken pressure too seriously. It is always part of the sport.

"As I am the defending champion here and at Wimbledon I will have that extra pressure.

"But pressure drives me on. I enjoy it and people expect the best from me. I want to do my best even though it is not possible all the time.

"With success comes a lot of things. I am still working hard and trying to improve every day.

"I have to commit to a few off-court appearances as well. But it has been a fun time for me and I have enjoyed every second of it.

"I have got an opportunity to meet many amazing people in different industries. It has been really fun."

Sharapova also admits that she cannot wait to get back to playing on grass after the clay of Roland Garros.

"I am really happy to be back playing again on grass," admitted Sharapova. "It is am amazing surface. It puts a smile on my face.

"The ball jumps weird and I am laughing. It makes me want to work harder and give that extra effort. It is really special for me.

"I think that I have a better chance than anyone on grass as it suits my game really well."

Sharapova is seeking to continue to an impressive collection of results that was started by her Edgbaston success.

As well as winning Wimbledon last summer she has also triumphed at events in Seoul, Tokyo, and at the WTA Championships in Los Angeles.

This year she has won the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan and the Qatar Total Open in Doha.

goldenlox
Jun 4th, 2005, 04:29 PM
Sharapova hopes to win Wimbledon again

By ROBERT MILLWARD

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Tennis/Wimbledon/2005/06/04/k060405A.jpgRussia's Maria Sharapova, May 31, 2005 in Paris. (AP/Francois Mori)




BIRMINGHAM , England (AP) - Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova says she wouldn't mind missing out on all the other Grand Slam titles if it meant she kept on winning at the All England Club.

The Russian, who produced a stunning performance last year by winning Wimbledon as a 17-year-old, said she was happy to be labelled a grasscourt specialist.

"If I could win 10 Wimbledons and not another Grand Slam I'd take that," she said Saturday. "It's amazing. It's the best tournament in the world."

On Monday, Sharapova returns to the low-key grasscourt tournament that served as a warmup to her winning performance at the All England Club.

Last year's triumph at the DFS Classic was a just a glimpse of what was to come at Wimbledon as Sharapova - the tall Russian teenager with the looks of a model - outplayed two-time defending champion Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in the final to become the third youngest winner in the 127-year history of the championship


In two years, the 18-year-old Russian has gone from promising teenager with a headline-making on-court grunt to the best grasscourt player in the world.

Back then, she was asked about her dreams as a rising tennis star. Now the questions are about whether she fears burnout.

"It's been a year and I haven't seen myself burn out yet," she said. "There's 365 days in a year and that's a long time to get burned out. I'm still here fresh as a daisy. If you see fire coming out of me let me know."

It was here at the Priory Club two years ago that Sharapova was warned by tournament officials to reduce the noise of her on-court grunting whenever she hit the ball. Her high-pitched shrieks brought complaints from the players on the next court.

Eventually it was the standard of her play that took over and now she is one of the most recognized faces in the sport.

"I have gotten so used to being recognized that I don't have time to think about it because it's normal now," she said. "Before, it might have been a bit of a surprise that people recognized me but now it has become a part of my life that I have to deal with.

"But, if I wasn't winning, then people wouldn't be recognizing me and you people wouldn't be writing about me. When they don't write about you you know you're in trouble."

Sharapova's height and power makes her a natural on grass and she has joined the likes of Lindsay Davenport and the Williams sisters - also tall players - on the list of winners at the All England Club.

"I think I have a better chance than anybody on grass because it's my favourite surface and because it suits my game and I love it," she said.

"I think (the DFS Classic) is just a really great warmup for Wimbledon because it's a low-key tournament. It still has great competition. I have played well here for the past two years so I'm glad to be back."

She has lost just once at the Priory, in the semifinals two years ago to Japan's Shinobu Asagoe, and that was after a third set tiebreak. None of her big rivals are here and the biggest danger is second-seeded Alicia Molik of Australia.

Sharapova was beaten in the French Open quarter-finals by Justine Henin-Hardenne, who went on to win the title at Roland Garros on Saturday.

The Russian said she was confident she could deal with the extra pressure of being Wimbledon champion. "I have really never taken pressure too seriously because it's always part of the sport," she said. "I'm the defending champion here and at Wimbledon so there is extra pressure. But pressure drives me and I enjoy it."

DrChemicalX
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:02 AM
Awsome, i also cannot comprehend and believe its been a year!

Maria Croft
Jun 5th, 2005, 08:24 AM
great article, thanx !!

Andy.
Jun 5th, 2005, 08:29 AM
Great Article lets hope for another unbeaten year on grass this year

goldenlox
Jun 5th, 2005, 04:20 PM
http://cache-1.sportinglife.com/pictures/general/sharapovaholdstrophy.jpg Sharapova - reigning champion in SW19.
SHARAPOVA STILL IN SHOCK

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova has labelled the last year "amazing" as she launches the preparations for the defence of her title.

The 18-year-old starts the countdown to her return to Wimbledon in Birmingham this week when she will be seeking to retain the DFS title she won at the Edgbaston Priory 12 months ago.

It was the form she showed at The Priory that sparked her Wimbledon triumph and Sharapova said: "It has been a pretty amazing year.

"I look at what has happened and I can't quite believe it. But it is real, the statistics are there to prove it, and I have to keep moving on, appreciate everything and try to improve."

While she may still be basking in the glow of events 12 months ago, Sharapova also has a steely determination to ensure she retains her Wimbledon crown.

She believes she is most at home on grass and added: "It is the best tournament in the world.

"It just gives you that extra-special feeling and I want to win it as many times as I can."

Despite the success at Wimbledon which has made her one of the most recognisable faces in the world, Sharapova shows a maturity beyond her teenage years.

She has taken the sudden rise to stardom in her stride and, despite the rewards the sport has given her, claims tennis is not the most important thing in her life.

She said: "I don't consider it my life. If I was not enjoying it I would not be here.

"It is my career and I enjoy it but a lot of other things are more important to me than tennis.

"It is my job but it is not my life. Health and family are the most important things in my life.

"Being able to have your mum and dad supporting you is important as well as your health and with that comes happiness.

"It is really not about tennis or money. It is about the people around you."

Sharapova has also come to accept that she cannot go anywhere in the world now without being recognised.

"Being recognised wherever I go is something I have had to get used to," admitted the Russian-born Sharapova.

"It is part of my life now. I can't change it. But I realise if I was not winning people would not recognise me and would not be writing about me.

"When you are not being written about you know you are in trouble."

Her feet are firmly on the ground, to such an extent that she is still continuing her education to ensure she graduates from high school in America.

She said: "It takes up a lot of time. I have five more credits to get until I finish high school. Right now I am only doing mathematics and I have a deadline to finish it."

Sharapova also knows just how lucky she is to be travelling the world following her humble beginnings in Russia.

She had time on her hands in Paris after being knocked out of the French Open at the quarter-final stage by Justin Henin-Hardenne and took the chance to tour the shops and sights of the French capital as any normal teenager would do.

Sharapova said: "It was fun. I had a free day in Paris so I went to some boutiques. I love designer shops.

"Then I went to the Louvre. I wanted to see the old Italian and Spanish paintings and the Mona Lisa. I went there about four years ago and I wanted to go again.

"I drank hot chocolate at Angelo's, which is the most amazing hot chocolate in the world, and after that had a really nice dinner. It was fun being a tourist in Paris.

"It is amazing to be able to visit these places. Not many people in the world have an opportunity to travel.

"Most of the time when you are playing you don't get a chance to see the places where you are. But when you lose you find a day for some retail therapy and cultural therapy to take the worries away."

Sharapova has a bye in the first round at the DFS and will face either Tatiana Perebiynis of the Ukraine or Anne Kremer of Luxembourg when she launches her campaign in the second round on Tuesday.

goldenlox
Jun 6th, 2005, 03:55 PM
http://img.rian.ru/images/673/92/6739219.jpg Sports (http://en.rian.ru/sports/)
Sharapova to play for Russia in 2006


18:01
http://img.rian.ru/i/b_print.gif (http://en.rian.ru/sports/20050606/40478818-print.html)




MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) - At a Moscow press-conference on Monday, Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev expressed hopes that Maria Sharapova, one of the world's leading tennis-players and the Winbledon-2004 winner, will perform next year with a Russian national team at the Federation Cup competitions.

"The mass media are busy speculating about when Maria will apply for American citizenship. I think that if she had wanted this she would have already taken relevant steps - it is too late now," said Tarpishchev. In his opinion, Sharapova's constant pronouncements about her Russian roots speak of her intention to continue playing under the Russian colors.

Asked by newsmen about the feasibility of Sharapova's emerging Wimbledon winner for the second time after last year's success, Tarpischev said that Sharapova had all chances to capture the title in case of a favorable seeding - one could even give a percentage-precise forecast then.

He mentioned her other problem connected with her swift rise. "She is not quite fit for ground courts and is likely to show a better performance in Wimbledon," concluded Tarpishchev.

clementine
Jun 8th, 2005, 08:10 PM
Hi guys :wavey:

With Wimbledon just around the corner it will soon be Masha Mania in the media all over again (not that it has subsided any in the past year. lol).

First up is Maria on the cover of ESPN magazine (June 20, 2005 issue)! Huge article on her. It looks to be a great issue for tennis because there's also an article about Roger Federer, as well as some stuff about Rafael Nadal. :D

It must have just come out because it's not even up on ESPN's website (http://espn.go.com/magazine/) yet.

goldenlox
Jun 10th, 2005, 03:16 PM
This is a previous ESPN interview. The new article should be on www.espn.go.com/magazine (http://www.espn.go.com/magazine), in a few days

*DP= Dan Patrick
*MS= Maria Sharapova

DP - Who's the greatest female tennis player of all time?
MS - I'll tell you in a few years.
DP - Good answer. Give me the male tennis player you'd like to face.
MS - There are a few who I would equally want to kick their ass, but first is Roddick. I would love to return that serve of his. I just want to show him that, you know, his serve is not that good after all.

DP - Better tennis outfits - you or Serena?
MS - Me, come on! Mine are more classy and more elegant.
DP - Outfit that Serena has worn that you just couldn't see yourself in?
MS - All of them.

DP - Ever eaten off the silver plate you won at Wimbledon?
MS - No, because you don't actually get the big silver tray. I got a smaller version.
DP - Those bastards. They didn't give you the bigger one?
MS - No, I got a little replica. It's just too small - I eat too much.

DP - Any difference between European and American tennis fans?
MS - American fans really like it when you hit the line or close to the line. They like to scream, "Yeah! Ooh! In, come on, in!" because the harder the ace, the better for them. They like controversy. For the Europeans, they like it when you show your game, and you don't hit aces all the time. It becomes too boring for them.

DP - Biggest purchase you've ever put on your credit card?
MS - I spend more money on shoes than anything else.
DP - Most you've ever spent on a pair?
MS - A thousand dollars.
DP - That's not bad.
MS - For a pair of shoes? It's just a piece of material and a heel!
DP - You get your tennis shoes for free. You can spend all your money on dress shoes.
MS - Well, that's my excuse, you know.

DP - TV Show that you'd like to appear on - and are you a good girl or a bad girl on it?
MS - The OC. I'd have more fun playing a bad girl. Or 24, because I could be a spy criminal.
DP - You could speak Russian to Kiefer Sutherland!

DP - Favorite movie?
MS - My all-time favorite is Something's Gotta Give, with Jack Nicholson. I love to laugh, and that was really, really funny.
DP - When's the last time you cried at a movie?
MS - I cried at The Notebook.
DP - But that's a chick flick, Maria.
MS - Well, I'm a chick. What do you expect?

goldenlox
Jun 11th, 2005, 05:19 PM
Retail Therapy for Sharapova

By Ian Laybourn, PA Sport



Maria Sharapova will take in some retail therapy as she starts to prepare for the defence of her Wimbledon crown.

The 18-year-old Russian will have a week off in London as she seeks to shake off a cold and ease the aches and pains caused by the transition from French clay to the grass of Birmingham, where she is on course to successfully defend her DFS Classic title.

“I’m going to take a few days off,” she said. “I’ll rest a little bit and do some shopping in London and definitely hope for better weather in London.

“Then I’ll starting practising hard again.”

Before her week off, though, Sharapova will attempt to retain her WTA tour title in Birmingham against third seed Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia and Montenegro, in tomorrow’s final.

The world number two, whose victory at Edgbaston last year set the platform for her astonishing Wimbledon triumph, gained a 7-5 6-1 victory over last year’s runner-up Tatiana Golovin in today’s semi-finals.

The 17-year-old Golovin threatened to avenge last year’s Edgbaston defeat until a nagging foot injury began to take its toll.

Sharapova appeared to sense her opponent’s Achilles heel and, after having to fight for the first set, raced through the second in just 25 minutes to secure her fourth final appearance of the year.

The pivotal moment came in the last game of the first set in which Golovin double-faulted on game point. She managed to save three more set points thanks to some booming serves but Sharapova succeeded at the fifth attempt to wrap up the set after 51 minutes.

He concentration broken, Golovin dropped her serve at the start of the second set in which she crucially did the splits on a slippery baseline.

A rush to the net in an abortive attempt to retrieve a Sharapova drop shot further tested her dodgy ankle and she was forced to call for a medical time-out to have treatment on the injury she sustained in Paris last month and aggravated in Birmingham.

The French player failed to win another game as Sharapova went for the kill to wrap up a 15th win in 16 matches on the Birmingham grass she likes so much.

“The ankle is fine but the cut I have on my foot is not too good,” said Golovin.

“It held up in the first set, which could have gone either way, but then I slipped.

“The bandage started to come off and it hurt even more. I had my chances out there but she played some good points.”

Sharapova, also under the weather, was encouraged by today’s performance after being taken to three sets in each of her previous two matches.

“Everything is sore but it’s just normal because it’s grass,” she said.

“My butt’s sore and my thigh’s sore with the bending and changing direction suddenly. Once I warm up, I’m fine.

“Energy-wise, I didn’t feel 100% but tennis-wise I’m playing better. I was really relaxed. I made a few sloppy errors but I fought it out.

“I’m still not serving great but there is something left to improve for Wimbledon. I’m still adjusting on the grass but I’m starting to feel much better.”

Golovin, who learned her tennis skills alongside Sharapova at the Bollettieri Academy in Florida, expects the champion to be the favourite at Wimbledon.

“She’s number two in the world and she won last year so she’s obviously the favourite,” she said.

“But I think all the girls are playing great tennis now so it’s going to be tough for anybody to win.”

Jankovic, who took just 55 minutes to beat surprise semi-finalist Laura Granville 6-2 6-2, will be aiming to make it third time lucky when she meets Sharapova tomorrow.

The world number 20, who is another Bollettieri product and now lives in Florida, is undaunted by her defeats in both the US Open and in Beijing last year.

“Every match is different,” she said. “You never know what is going to happen. Obviously, I’m going for a win.”

clementine
Jun 12th, 2005, 01:18 AM
http://www.gotennis.com/Photos/2005-06-11T155720Z_01_BRM810D_RTRIDSP_2_SPORT-TENNIS.jpg
Sharapova pretty peerless in pink

Jamie Jackson
Sunday June 12, 2005
The Observer

Under a dour Birmingham sky, Maria Sharapova's pink singlet and her opponent's lime green two-piece were similar neon sartorial choices, but for women separated by 17 ranking places, there were scant playing parallels, writes Jamie Jackson.

Sharapova had too much hunger for a player she defeated in last year's final in this event, before she won the Wimbledon title three weeks later. Tatiana Golovin's courage was evident, but this was a mismatch in class.

Having saved a set point at 5-2 down, Golovin won the next three games. But, as has been true throughout the DFS Classic, the world number two moved up a gear to win the set 7-5. Then, it was punishment time as Sharapova closed out proceedings with an emphatic 6-1 second-set win.

Earlier in the week, Sharapova had been made a honourary life member of the Priory Club. The MC noted that it allowed her the freedom to play any time and had saved her £600, before quipping: 'It's the thought that counts.'

It was acknowledgement of the fact that Sharapova had jumped 150 places in a year and is now highly rewarded for her string of off-court endorsements. She has also become more guarded.

Who are the main threats to her Wimbledon title? 'I don't like to think about that,' she said, before confirming that she is not 100 per cent fit. 'I don't have too much energy and I have a sore throat, sore thigh and sore butt. That's normal on grass. I'll take a few days off, maybe go shopping in London and then start practising for Wimbledon.'

Her opponent in the final today is Jelena Jankovic, a fellow Nick Bollittieri stablemate. 'We used to hit together when we were 12,' the Serb said after her 6-2 6-2 win over the American Laura Granville.

Jankovic's display featured precise groundstrokes and heavy serving. 'It was very important to start well,' she said. 'I put a lot of pressure on her, especially early on.'

The former junior Australian champion and world junior number one has always had potential, but this year she has moved up the rankings to 20. Why? 'I'm quite lazy, really,' she said. 'I live in Florida and I used to prefer the beach and jet skiing. This year I'm practising harder.'

Jankovic, 20, lost to Sharapova in the second round of the US Open last September, having taken a set off the 18-year-old. 'That will count for nothing,' she said. 'This a different match.'

If she is to win, Jankovic will have to dominate early on and hope Sharapova crumbles for the first time here.

· The glorious drama of a Melbourne evening in late January could be reignited when Marat Safin and Roger Federer meet in the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, writes Chris Bowers.

Although Safin goes into the final today a distinct underdog against a man unbeaten in his past 28 matches on grass, he has shocked himself and the tennis world this week by turning a distrust - if not hatred - of grass into an acceptance that has made him one of the least likely number-two seeds to reach a tour final.

He is also one of only three men to have beaten Federer this year, in a five-set victory in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

With the mercurial Russian having kept his cool in a 6-3 4-6 6-2 victory over Guillermo Cañas yesterday, the knowledge of a win over the world number one could add to his new-born confidence on grass.

Yet he could be hitting Federer at just the wrong time, with the Swiss returning to something like his best form when beating local favourite Tommy Haas 6-4 7-6 yesterday. 'Of all my matches so far, I think I played my best today,' said Federer. 'That's definitely how you want to feel just before Wimbledon.'

· Big servers Andy Roddick, the 2004 Wimbledon runner-up, and Ivo Karlovic, all 6ft 10in of him, will meet in the Stella Artois final at Queen's today, writes Jon Henderson. 'The guy serves out of a tree,' said Roddick, who will be attempting to win his third title here. 'It's hard to get a lot of rhythm against him.'

In the semi-finals, Roddick's heavyweight hitting carried him through against Radek Stepanek's deft strokemaking, the American seeing off his Czech opponent 6-3 2-6 6-2. The unseeded Karlovic, who hit 19 aces, then upset Thomas Johansson, conqueror of Britons Andrew Murray and Tim Henman, 6-4 7-6.

Stepanek gambols and skips about the court, a style that has been known to irritate opponents. Roddick showed that he found it a tad annoying when he did a passable imitation of the Czech player's bounding antics to mark reclaiming control of the match with a break in the third game of the deciding set. 'I didn't want to miss out on all the fun - the hopping and skipping and all that stuff,' said Roddick after the match.

Stepanek turned the match around when he won 21 successive service points. In the second set, he dropped none on his delivery, bar the first point of the set. But Roddick cranked up his game to regain command and post a victory that suggested he is moving into prime grass-court form for Wimbledon.

goldenlox
Jun 12th, 2005, 05:45 PM
Sharapova: "I'M Feeling Good"

By Ian Laybourn, PA Sport



Maria Sharapova says she is in top shape to defend her Wimbledon crown.

The 18-year-old Russian wound up her preparations in style when she successfully defended her DFS Classic title in Birmingham, the grass-court tournament which launched her career 12 months ago.

Sharapova, who will now have a week off before Wimbledon, was not at her best as she dropped a set for the third time in the tournament but finished strongly to gain a 6-2 4-6 6-1 victory against third seed Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia and Montenegro.

“I haven’t been playing my best tennis but I still managed to get through and I felt really comfortable as the matches went on,” she said.

“Having to battle out some tough matches and not feeling your best but still managing to win the tournament is a great feeling, I’m really happy.

“I’ve played five good matches, where opponents have pushed me and I still came through. I’m going to take that experience and confidence into Wimbledon.”

Sharapova’s latest Birmingham triumph was her 10th WTA Tour title in two years and her third of 2005, with the promise of many more to come.

She went away with a £17,000 winner’s cheque which took her prize money for the year through the one million dollar barrier and provided some loose change ahead of this week’s planned shopping spree in London.

For the second successive match, however, the world number two watched her opponent tail away after being afflicted by injury.

Tatania Golovin was hampered by a foot injury in her semi-final on Saturday and the 20-year-old Jankovic needed a medical time-out to have treatment on her right thigh at the end of the second set.

And, like Golovin, Jankovic won just one game on the resumption as Sharapova breezed through the second set in just 25 minutes.

“I started feeling my left leg towards the end of the second set,” explained Jankovic. “It was getting stiff and it was tough to bend, especially on my serve.

“I didn’t have any power to continue and that’s why it was 6-1 in the final set.”

Both players struggled at times in the cold and windy conditions and, although Sharapova always looked capable of pulling out the big shot to avert a crisis, she appeared to lose concentration in the second set.

Jankovic, who beat Serena Williams earlier this year, dropped just six points on her serve in the second set to level the match but faded badly when she began to feel the effects of her thigh strain and succumbed to the Wimbledon champion for the third time in as many meetings.

“If I play my best tennis I can beat her but I wasn’t playing even close to the level I can play at,” she added.

Sharapova is almost over the cold that affected her performances in the previous two days but found it difficult to cope with the sudden drop in temperature and is still troubled slightly by a thigh strain.

“Conditions were heavier and the ball didn’t fly as much in the air,” she said.

“But I don’t think I could have done much more. I played a really good first set and we were on serve in the second until she broke me with an aggressive game.

“If she could have played at that level for the whole three sets it might have been different but in the third she made a few errors and let me back in it.”

Meanwhile, Sharapova dropped a hint that she could be back at Edgbaston next year in a bid to complete a hat-trick of DFS Classic wins.

The tournament traditionally falls between the French Open and Wimbledon and could fit perfectly into her plans to make the transition from clay to grass.

“It’s hard to say, but I hope so,” she said. “It always depends on how I feel physically after the French and how much time I have to prepare.

“But I usually like a week off before the Grand Slams.”

Maria Croft
Jun 12th, 2005, 10:25 PM
Nice article, thanx for posting !!

xan
Jun 12th, 2005, 11:36 PM
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova fired a warning to her Wimbledon rivals on Sunday, out-gunning Jelena Jankovic 6-2 4-6 6-1 to win the DFS Classic for the second year running.

It was at this sedate setting in England's second city last year that she began a journey that culminated in her fairytale crowning as champion at the grasscourt grand slam.

The fact that she has repeated the first half of that double despite suffering from a cold and aching limbs augurs well for her return to the All England Club.

"I've played five tough matches with opponents pushing me and I came through, so I'm going to take a lot of confidence from that," said the 18-year-old world number two who was pushed to a deciding set for the third time this week.

As against Australia's Samantha Stosur and Eleni Daniilidou of Greece in previous rounds, however, she found the extra gears when she needed and never looked in danger of losing.

"I just went for my shots in the third set, and tried not to worry too much," said Sharapova after claiming her 10th career title and 17th consecutive victory on grass.

"It's a great feeling to win here again, I've not felt my best but I've battled through."

The third-seeded Jankovic, who had reached the final without dropping a set, was overwhelmed in the opening set as she vainly attempted to match Sharapova's baseline power.

All she ended up doing was loading the bullets for the Russian to fire them whizzing past her into the corners.

She proved she has some useful grasscourt tools in the second set, however. After the first six games all went with serve she produced some inspired tennis to break Sharapova.

The Russian shot some angry glances at her watching father Yuri, momentarily looking a little confused as errors began flying off her racket.

Jankovic punished Sharapova's inability to put away a simple volley as she held for 5-3 with a rasping backhand winner.

Sharapova recovered from 0-30 down to win the next game but Jankovic would not be denied a third set, serving out confidently to take the set 6-4.

Jankovic, the world number 20, needed treatment on a thigh strain at the start of the third set and after returning to the court she quickly came under a barrage of power play.

Hitting the ball with renewed vigor, Sharapova clenched her fists and screamed "come on" after breaking to lead 3-1.

Another belting forehand winner two games later produced a second break and Sharapova made no mistake, serving out the match to claim the $31,000 first prize.

goldenlox
Jun 14th, 2005, 04:09 PM
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/SHARAPOVAbhGoodAusOpen05S.Mullane.jpg
Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
06/15/2005

Seven-time Wimbledon winner Pete Sampras called Centre Court at the All England Club a "tennis cathedral." Defending Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, who smacks shots with enough force to shatter stained glass and punctuates potent blasts with shrieks that reverberate like a siren during a sermon, shares that reverence for the grand stage of the grass court Grand Slam.


"If I could win 10 Wimbledons and not another Grand Slam, I'd take that," Sharapova told the media before launching defense of her Birmingham title. "It's amazing. It's the best tournament in the world."

A year ago, Sharapova played perhaps the best match of her career at Centre Court, Wimbledon. Serena Williams ran ragged trying to reclaim the real estate she'd ruled like her own backyard in amassing a 20-match Wimbledon winning streak, but a superior Sharapova simply shoved her aside to take control of the most precious turf in tennis. In a stirring performance of power and poise, the 13th-seeded Sharapova overpowered, overwhelmed and, ultimately, dethroned the two-time defending champion with a 6-1, 6-4 triumph in the Wimbledon final to become the youngest champion since a 16-year-old Martina Hingis raised the Rosewater Dish in 1997.

Since her 2004 Wimbledon victory, Sharapova has surged to the second spot in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings, earned endorsement deals the way John McEnroe once collected code violations and stopped traffic everywhere from the Sunset Strip to I-95 with her larger than life image plastered on billboards.

But here's the question: Can she successfully defend her crown?

The 18-year-old Sharapova doesn't need to dissect the draw to find this year's favorite. She sees her in the reflection in her title trophy.

"I have a better chance than anybody on grass because it's my favorite surface and because it suits my game," Sharapova says. "And I love it."

Twenty-time Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King believes Sharapova has the skills to establish a successful long-time love affair with Wimbledon.

"Maria Sharapova can win multiple Wimbledons," says King, who first saw Sharapova play in the Wimbledon juniors and signed her to play World TeamTennis at age 14. "As long as she wants it, and obviously has no huge injury issues, she can absolutely win multiple Wimbledons because she has the game for grass."

Sharapova's stinging flat shots force opponents to bend low to dig out knee-high shots while hitting off their heels. Her blistering backhand crosscourt can batter foes into submission, or she can use that shot to open up the court before taking the backhand down the line. Stalking the baseline ready to pounce on any short shot, Sharapova takes the ball early to rob reaction time from opponents. The seeds for Sharapova's grass court game were planted on courts coast-to-coast under the guidance of some of the most experienced coaches in the country. Sharapova has trained at Nick Bollettieri's academy in Bradenton, Fla., since the age of 9; she has worked with Robert Lansdorp in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., to refine her strokes since she was 11; and, recently, she has improved her serve studying with serving specialist Phil Dent, a former Australian Open runner-up and father of serve- and-volleyer Taylor Dent.

Lansdorp, assessing Sharapova's grass court guile, says, "Maria likes to play against pace herself, and she hits the ball with so much pace the points aren't going to last that long on a grass court. Another important reason (for her success) is her serve is a lot better on grass simply because it moves more."

Says Bollettieri, "Maria hits the ball so early, so hard and so flat it's tough to recover when she takes that first big strike against you. It's awful tough because the balls don't bounce really high on grass; so she forces you to try to rally off a flat, hard, low ball. You're trying to hang in against someone who hits consistently hard and flat, she's backing you up and the ball isn't coming up. Good luck to you."

In addition to an audacious arsenal of baseline blasts, Sharapova's court sense - her feel for playing probing, deep drives before pulling the trigger and going for the kill - athleticism and aggressive attitude are all assets on the All England Club's lawn courts.

"I'm very big on the idea that Wimbledon is won by jocks," ESPN analyst Mary Carillo says. "Grass rewards everything Maria Sharapova does well. She moves well for someone her height. She's got a good instinct for the kill shot. She hits hard and flat, which is obviously very hard to track down on grass. She's looking to play bold points, one after another. And that combination plays well at Wimbledon."

Sharapova's declarative first strike ability often gives her the last word in grass court rallies against even the hardest hitters in the game. With a sharp sense for shot sequence, Sharapova showed her ability to abruptly alter the course of crosscourt rallies by changing directions and delivering down the line shots off both sides in her victories over some of the hardest hitters in the sport - Daniela Hantuchova, Davenport and Serena Williams - en route to the 2004 title.

"Your crosscourt is your bread-and-butter shot, and your down-the-line is your money shot," says Lansdorp, who has also worked with Tracy Austin, Sampras and Davenport, and is a master of teaching the fast, flat ground strokes. "So you have to be able hit the down the line. It's not a trial-and-error situation; you have to hit that shot. So when you see Maria changing direction in a match, that's something we've worked on for years: Set it up with a deep shot, then short angle, short angle, short angle and then crank it down the line for a winner. Maria is very good at setting up that opportunity and making the shot. People don't realize it's almost eight years of me feeding her fast and her working on that shot."

The owner of a 31-6 record before beginning her grass court season in Birmingham earlier this month, Sharapova's struggles - with the exception of Serena's gritty comeback from match points down in the Australian Open semifinals and Davenport's 6-0, 6-0 shutout in the Indian Wells semifinals - have come primarily against players who can alter speeds and spins on slower surfaces and make her hit on the run or from awkward positions on court.

Exerting enough elasticity to retrieve shots often out of reach to others, Kim Clijsters conquered windy conditions and the second-seeded Sharapova in the Miami final. Justine Henin-Hardenne swept Sharapova in successive straight set clay court wins in Berlin and Roland Garros. Patty Schnyder fed Sharapova heavy topspin, slithering slices and a lethal dose of junk in beating her in the Rome semifinals. But Sharapova shrugs off these setbacks as if they're an itchy shawl. She reached the semifinals in six of the first eight events she played this season, winning at Tokyo and Doha consecutively.

"My favorite part of Sharapova is she seems to have a very sound idea of what to hold on to and what to let go of, in terms of her game and her future," Carillo says. "She takes a hit, she loses that match to Serena (in the Australian Open semifinals) and she comes right back, almost right away, and starts winning all over again."

The body language of some top players can serve as a physical scoreboard, with sagging shoulders and hanging heads revealing service breaks and cracked confidence. When Sharapova turns her back to the court to collect her thoughts before each serve, it's as if she has already convinced herself, her racquet and the ball of the point that will be played out before she turns around to actually serve.

"If you turn on the television during a Sharapova match, you can't tell the score by looking at her body language," King says. "Her body language is always very positive. I think that's huge, particularly on grass, where things happen so fast, because it keeps her attitude right, but it also sends a message to the opponent that she's got that intense quality on every point. She showed that in winning Wimbledon last year."

Defending a major title may well be one of the toughest tasks in tennis, but Sharapova suggests that coping with pressure is like adapting to unruly grass court bounces; it comes with the territory.

"I have never really taken pressure too seriously because it is always part of the sport," she says. "I'm the defending champion at Wimbledon; so there is extra pressure. But pressure drives me and I enjoy it."

There are several contenders capable of detouring Sharapova's run to another Wimbledon final. Though Davenport has not won a major since the 2000 Australian Open, she has advanced to at least the quarterfinals in seven of her last eight Grand Slam events. More importantly, Davenport's destruction of Sharapova in Indian Wells was her first win over the 6-foot Russian in three meetings. The dilemma Davenport faces is trying to win running rallies with the faster Sharapova and conquering the self-doubt she has shown in losing her last three major finals.

Discounting Serena Williams at a major is as wise as ruling out a star sighting while strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But by the time Wimbledon begins it will be two months since Serena's last match victory. Since her stirring run to her seventh Grand Slam tournament title, Serena has struggled to finish what she starts, retiring or conceding a walkover in three of 13 matches and looking disinterested on occasion. The inferno of intensity that once burned within, sometimes seems to flicker like the flame of a matchstick in Serena, but if she shows up in shape, she'll surely be motivated to reclaim the major the Williams sisters owned for four consecutive years before Sharapova snatched it away.

The resurgent Clijsters, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2003, two-time Wimbledon semifinalist Amelie Mauresmo, Australian Open quarterfinalist Alicia Molik, 2004 Wimbledon junior runner-up Ana Ivanovic and hard-hitting Nicole Vaidisova are all capable of playing deep into the draw.

Several observers point to reigning Roland Garros champion Henin-Hardenne, who can complete a career Grand Slam by winning The Championships, as the most capable contender for the Wimbledon crown. While she can't match Sharapova's pure power, Henin-Hardenne is a much better mover, possesses the variety to take Sharapova out of her strike zone and is an all-court player who can attack the net. What's more, she played the Wimbledon final before, extending then-defending champion Venus Williams to three sets in 2001.

"Every day is a new day at the office," King says. "It depends how your game is going on that particular day. If Lindsay's first strike of the ball is better than Maria's that day, then Lindsay is probably going to win. But if Maria's first strike is better that day, then Maria is probably going to win. "Ideally, [to beat Sharapova], you'd want someone who can vary the spin and vary the shot, as well as be very, very quick: a Henin-Hardenne or a Serena. You've got to be in great shape because (Sharapova) is going to just keep pounding you. So fitness is a factor. You have to stay very, very focused every single ball. If you start letting up just a little with her, she's going to take it to you. And we know from watching her she will take it to you."

Given the chance to do that at Wimbledon, Sharapova could well take home another title.

Alenyaa
Jun 14th, 2005, 10:08 PM
I love the ESPN interview you posted, GL! :D

goldenlox
Jun 15th, 2005, 02:54 PM
Pretty Sharapova must win ugly to defend Wimbledon title
Has only a slight chance to overtake Davenport for No. 1

By Matthew Cronin
Maria Sharapova wants to prove she's No 1 in the rankings beside being the top female athlete in star power.
After she won Wimbledon last year in astounding fashion, Maria Sharapova no longer had to defend herself against the dreaded Anna Kournikova comparison: that she was just another pretty blonde Russian with a negligible game and questionable motivation.

But the ambitious Sharapova has a much greater hurdle to climb now: whether she has the will and will develop the know-how to become an all-time great player.

She's will ascend to No. 1 with one significant Lindsay Davenport hiccup at Wimbledon, but also one wet and soggy loss in London away from slipping back to No. 3.

She's never had to defend a major title and, although she's played three Grand Slams since she wowed Serena Williams for the '04 Wimbledon crown, the pressure on her to prove that her title run wasn't a one-off will be immense. Sharapova has certainly played well at times during the year since then, but has also slumped.

She's still developing, particularly her footwork, volleying and point construction. But her fan base is impatient and some of her critics are just waiting for her to take a fall.

"It's normal that people expect you to win, but it's impossible to win everything," said Sharapova, who's 36-6 this year. "You want to win every time, but people have to respect the fact that you are human."

WIMBLEDON DEFENSE IS HUGE
Defending her Wimbledon title is extremely important to her, so much so that when asked if she was given a choice between grabbing the No. 1 ranking and defending her crown, she replied without hesitation, "Wimbledon."

That may be because Sharapova was speaking from the grounds at the Big W, the place where she proved to herself and everyone else that her drive to become the best wasn't just some flighty teenage dream. She was good, rising player before then, but one without serious credentials.

But, after coming back from a set down against '99 champion Davenport in the semis and then making the boastful, two-time champion Serena Williams look weak and confused in the final, she suddenly owned a Fortune 500 resume. All she could think about was her tennis glory, while her handlers saw gold in the endorser's pocket and cashed in a big way. She's now earning an estimated $20 million per year, the vast majority of that in sponsorships. With a namesake perfume and gracing dozens of advertisements from Canon to Motorola, she's makes race car driver Danica Patrick's portfolio look like that of a Girl Scout posing for a school uniform catalog.

But the 18-year-old Sharapova says she's always kept her priorities straight.

"When we first met [my agent], I said that my number one priority was tennis," she said. "Everything else came after tennis. We thought about the way we wanted to be marketed, but then I won Wimbledon at such a young age and everything went so fast. It was a surprise and I guess everyone got excited."

Sometimes giggly and fun loving, other times deadly serious and confrontational, the girl from Siberia has a pretty decent understanding of her role in society given that she never received a formal education.

"I've always wanted to be a top player," Sharapova said. "That's been my dream. But what comes with it can be celebrity and even if it has nothing to do with tennis, it's part of what I do I have to accept it. If I don't want to be a tennis player, I wouldn't have to accept these things and be that level of celebrity. It's something that comes with sport."

But celebrity has had its price on court, as the other elite players saw her as a big target after she won Wimbledon. Sharapova had a mediocre summer on slow hard courts after her London glory and it was only once she got indoors on quicker surface that she was able to pound the other elite players again, winning the year-end WTA Championships with impressive knockouts of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Myskina and Serena.

2005 HASN'T BEEN THE YEAR MARIA WANTED
Because of that, she came into 2005 as the pre-anointed No. 1 but, at the Australian Open, she suffered a major setback, when she fell 2-6, 7-5, 8-6 defeat to eventual champion Serena in the semifinals when Sharapova held three match points. Speaking about the defeat a month later after she won titles in Tokyo and Doha, Sharapova was a little surprised she wasn't able to close out the Serena match, but figured it wouldn't happen again.

"I didn't take my opportunities," said Sharapova" "You have to take chances in tennis and if you don't, you lose. I was sad, but I know the better player always wins, even if I'm up match points. There are a lot of matches I've looked back at that were so devastating to lose when they happened. But now I look back and say it was good to lose a match, because I'm a better player because learned from them."

Sharapova was correct in thinking she wouldn't choke another major lead again, but what likely didn't cross her mind was that in a three-and-a-half-month period between March and mid-June, she'd only win one other crown - last week's mid-sized title on grass in Birmingham, where she scored two decent, but not eye-popping win over Tatiana Golovin and Jelena Jankovic in the semis and final.

It's important to note that during Sharapova's rapid rise up the charts that the Belgians, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, were largely absent from the tour with injuries. Since they came back in March, those two have combined for every significant title except for one, the Italian Open, which was won by Amelie Mauresmo.

Sharapova did hand Henin-Hardenne her only loss of the year in the quarterfinals of Miami, but was out-run by Clijsters in the final. After failing to reach even a semifinal on clay going into Roland Garros, the tall free swinger looked like she had started to figure out the vagaries of clay until she met Henin-Hardenne in the quarterfinals, who spun around like an off-balance top.

Former No. 1 Henin-Hardenne has only dropped one match this year and the '01 Wimbledon finalist is sure to make a strong run at the All-England Club. Given how much variety the Belgian has, Sharapova has a right to be afraid. But she's not and seems to be gunning for her, thinking that the green blades will play in her favor.

"I'm not worried about playing her," Sharapova said. "I know women tennis is very competitive. I played her on her favorite surface and where she plays her best and that's still a bit of a challenge for me. She had a little advantage of that. On grass, everything is faster, points are shorter and serving and returning well are the keys there. A lot of players will be tough at Wimbledon."

Has only a slight chance to overtake Davenport for No. 1

Lindsay Davenport tries for what may be her last shot at a Slam title at Wimbledon.
In order for Sharapova to become No. 1 at Wimbledon, she'll very likely have to defend her title and hope that Davenport falls before the semifinals. That will be a tough task given that the 28-year-old American realizes this is likely her last shot at a Wimbledon crown. Moreover, Henin-Hardenne is itching to become the first player since Serena to go back to back in Paris and London, Clijsters is aiming to prove that she's now mature enough to win a Slam and Serena has been looking to avenge her Wimbledon defeat to teenager who stole her much-beloved headlines for a year now.

Sharapova can't afford to play pretty if she wants to end Wimbledon at the top. She's going to have stain her knees green once again and gain some unsightly wins when her game isn't clicking. She's sure to look pretty holding up the winner's plate once more, but that will mean displaying a top-ranked player's game when everyone is aiming at her.

Now will see if the already more accomplished and self-assured Sharapova can hold the No. 1 brand both off-court and on.

"It would be great honor [to become No. 1]," Sharapova said. "You don't have anywhere else to go after that. When you become No. 1, you're the best. That would mean a lot to me. To win Grand Slams and become No. 1, that's what you wake up for."

Maria Croft
Jun 15th, 2005, 03:39 PM
stupid article, very negative, you must like it then Goldenlox....

goldenlox
Jun 15th, 2005, 03:51 PM
stupid article, very negative, you must like it then Goldenlox....I don't see it as negative. It's neutral. It has some good quotes from Maria.

"It would be great honor [to become No. 1]," Sharapova said. "You don't have anywhere else to go after that. When you become No. 1, you're the best. That would mean a lot to me. To win Grand Slams and become No. 1, that's what you wake up for."

"When we first met [my agent], I said that my number one priority was tennis," she said. "Everything else came after tennis. We thought about the way we wanted to be marketed, but then I won Wimbledon at such a young age and everything went so fast. It was a surprise and I guess everyone got excited."

"I've always wanted to be a top player," Sharapova said. "That's been my dream. But what comes with it can be celebrity and even if it has nothing to do with tennis, it's part of what I do I have to accept it. If I don't want to be a tennis player, I wouldn't have to accept these things and be that level of celebrity. It's something that comes with sport."

"It's normal that people expect you to win, but it's impossible to win everything," said Sharapova, who's 36-6 this year. "You want to win every time, but people have to respect the fact that you are human."

"I'm not worried about playing her," Sharapova said. "I know women tennis is very competitive. I played her on her favorite surface and where she plays her best and that's still a bit of a challenge for me. She had a little advantage of that. On grass, everything is faster, points are shorter and serving and returning well are the keys there. A lot of players will be tough at Wimbledon."

Edward.
Jun 15th, 2005, 04:09 PM
"Sharapova has certainly played well at times during the year since then, but has also slumped."

:retard:

She hasn't lost before a quarter final all year. What a major disaster.

goldenlox
Jun 15th, 2005, 04:18 PM
This is what Cronin is saying - But the ambitious Sharapova has a much greater hurdle to climb now: whether she has the will and will develop the know-how to become an all-time great player.
That's not negative. Maria is doing great. The question is, can she become an all-time great.

goldenlox
Jun 15th, 2005, 05:15 PM
Sharapova eyes No. 1

By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

Her limp is gone and the sniffles are subsiding, leaving Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova healthy and ready to defend her Wimbledon title next week.

In a somewhat difficult warm-up for the famed tournament, Sharapova fought through a thigh injury and a bad cold en route to winning the DFS Classic grasscourt tournament in chilly Birmingham, England, on the weekend. After disposing of Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the final -- the third time in the tournament she was stretched to three sets -- Sharapova headed to London, site of her breakthrough victory in 2004, in a positive frame of mind.

"Everything's okay now," Sharapova said yesterday on a conference call from the All England Lawn and Tennis (http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Tennis/WTA/2005/06/15/1089480-sun.html#) Club. "I think my thigh was just soreness from playing on the grass. I played five more matches after the injury."

Sharapova, who tentatively is scheduled to play in the Rogers Cup at Toronto in August, enters Wimbledon trailing Lindsay Davenport by 262 points for the world's No. 1 ranking.

"I don't have any butterflies yet, just a lot of excitement about being back on the Wimbledon grounds," Sharapova said. "It brings back a lot of good memories. A lot has changed on and off the court for me (since 2004). I've got so much more experience, I've met amazing people in different industries and I've been able to give back charity-wise."

The sport's 18-year-old pin-up girl has 10 career titles to her credit, including three this year, and has a 17-match winning streak on grass.

"The bounces are so different on grass," Sharapova said of the coming challenge. "It's very low and the ball is quick and the points are shorter.

"The level of women's tennis is very high right now. Anyone in the top 20 or 30 is a tough opponent. It would be amazing to be No. 1, but I have to get there first."

Szymanowski
Jun 15th, 2005, 06:21 PM
sensible........she's so....sensible!

Szymanowski
Jun 15th, 2005, 06:21 PM
btw, thanx for the article GL :hug:

Dan23
Jun 15th, 2005, 11:39 PM
"Sharapova has certainly played well at times during the year since then, but has also slumped."

:retard:

She hasn't lost before a quarter final all year. What a major disaster.
Agreed that comment is ridiculous, but otherwise a decent article :)

Arhivarius
Jun 17th, 2005, 06:07 AM
Forbes published the list of Top 100 celebrities.
Mashs took the spot number 57. :)
Not bad for 18 years old. :)
http://www.forbes.com/
http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2005/0704/116.html

Maria Croft
Jun 17th, 2005, 01:26 PM
BBC 1 will have a documentary about Maria tomorrow at 14:10 my time, 13:10 British time, be sure to watch it if you can !!

goldenlox
Jun 18th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Sharapova earns stripes with 'zebra philosophy'
By Mark Hodgkinson
(Filed: 18/06/2005)

Maria Sharapova has enjoyed such a precocious rise towards the top of the sport, and only very rarely does some of the celebrity sheen come off, but the teenage Russian yesterday revealed a softer, more vulnerable side to her personality. She said that she has some dark times on tour, days when she feels that "everything is wrong".

It was quite refreshing to hear such comments from Sharapova, the defending Wimbledon champion and already a global brand at the age of 18. She admitted that she is often only able to work through her problems with her very own "zebra philosophy", but perhaps more importantly, with the behind-the-scenes support that she receives from her mother.

Sharapova did not talk at length about her tennis itself, about any technical refinements she may have been making to her backhand, but about her relationship with her mother.

It is her excitable father and coach, Yuri, who tends to take centre-stage with his cries of encouragement and constant shakes of the fist, but Sharapova said that she relies on her mother, Yelena, to keep her sane in the strange and slightly unbalanced world that is the tennis circuit.

"I talk about everything with my mum. She's always the first person I call when I'm feeling down. It's not like you are going to be happy every single day and you are not always going to get your own way. You might wake up and feel like everything is wrong, you've been on the road for eight weeks, and you've got another four to go, and of course I have those moments all the time," Sharapova said.

"I call my mum, and I say, 'Mum, I want to go home'. But it's like a zebra; you have a white line and then a black line and then a white line. I always think that when I have a black line that there is a white line coming after it. That's my philosophy."

It may help Sharapova that her mother is removed from the sport, that Yelena does not travel with her and will almost certainly not even follow her daughter's Centre Court progress on television, as that offers the world No 2 some perspective. "She says that she can't watch my matches. She just says, 'If you win, I'll be very happy, but if you lose it's just another match'," Sharapova said.

Sharapova did not see her mother for two years after leaving Siberia at the age of nine, accompanied by her father, to train in Florida. They could not afford all three of them to be in America. So mother and daughter are used to having a relationship that is largely conducted over the telephone.

"Mum is the kind of woman who doesn't like the spotlight. She is very quiet. She doesn't like to be around the tennis world. I ask her to come but she doesn't want to if I am going to be practising the whole time and she is going to be in museums," Sharapova said.

"I get a lot of things from my mum. I've always admired her. She's very down to earth and very intelligent in a lot of things she does."

The defining image of last year's final, against American Serena Williams, was that of Sharapova afterwards attempting to call her mother on her mobile phone, giggling coquettishly at the lack of success. Sharapova explained that the problem was not, as thought, a lack of reception on Centre Court, but that she had forgotten that her mother was on a plane at the time, flying from New York to Florida, and would have turned her own phone off.

"Mum watched parts of the match as they had it live on the television on the plane. At the end of the match, she saw on the television that I was trying to call her. So she politely went up to the stewardess to ask if she could turn her phone on and talk to me. My mum is not the sort of lady to jump up and down," Sharapova said.

xan
Jun 20th, 2005, 02:16 AM
I put this up in GM

Giggles conceal steel of the ice maiden
By Sue Mott
(Filed: 20/06/2005)

Daily Telegraph



Wimbledon seedings in full
2005 singles draw


The girl who captured the Wimbledon title with her game and captivated the Centre Court crowd with her giggles returns to the scene of her conquest. With her she brings an enormous wardrobe, her chemistry homework and her steely determination not to let the crown slip into rival hands without a ferocious fight. Maria Sharapova is blonde, poised, groomed and 18, but those Siberian roots have given her icy resolve.


Model professional: Maria Sharapova has the right mentality
"I know that every single tournament I go to, no matter who I play, no matter how friends I am with that person, I know I just want to rip them apart every time I step on court." She laughed the famous laugh, a high-pitched gunfire of jollity that doesn't sound so jolly for her opponents somehow.

In the intervening year, she's gone global. She arrived at Wimbledon last year, little known, little expected, 13th (lucky for some) seed. By the time she had beaten Serena Williams in the final, she was a superstar-in-waiting. To be honest, she didn't have to wait long.

"I expected it would come but I didn't expect it so soon," she said, cool as ever, jewellery-bedecked and a decade older in demeanour than her linear years would suggest. "I felt like everyone all of a sudden knew who I was. I was on the cover of every single magazine. I was in all the newspapers." She paused for a bout of giggling.

"Of course, I love being good at what I do. Being recognised for it. People talking to me. Asking for autographs. When you get stopped in the street, it makes you realise you have done something. It gives you a flashback to what you have achieved. I don't mind. I really appreciate my fans."

For a while after the sheer, traumatic shock of the result, the penny, or the rouble or the cent (depending where she was sitting) refused to drop that she had accomplished so precocious a dream. "Oh God, it took a really long time. I was thinking, 'What did happen?' and, 'Am I really champion?' I was on the move all the time. It just didn't sink in. Then one day, sitting on a couch chatting with a friend, she's like, 'Oh my God - a month ago - you won Wimbledon!' and I'm like, 'I know! I know! Hee, hee, hee." A giggle storm ensued.

"It does feel like I'm at the top of women's tennis because I'm Wimbledon champion. Through my junior years people were always expecting the best from me. I had too many compliments. Of course, I appreciated them but I was 30 to 35 in the world. It's a big difference between being 35 in the world and being No 1 or 2. So once I won Wimbledon, I felt I had accomplished something big, something that proves it. All those compliments - they deserve to be here now."

No false modesty with Maria. Her expectations are higher than Ivo Karlovic and she maintains her self-belief at a similar altitude. It may help that she has the looks, the shape, the highlights, the carriage and the dangerous frost when displeased to intrigue the marketing world. Either that, or they just threw endorsement worth $20 million (£11 million) in her direction as the ultimate act of altruism.

She acknowledges the benefit of beauty. "It helps I guess. But it really doesn't make life any easier. You still have to have a career. You have to have a personality for people to work with and to try to get to be No 1 in tennis. You still have to work. You can take a lot of beautiful people from the street but obviously they are having a normal job and living a normal social life. There's a big difference between that and winning Wimbledon." Sharapova isn't complaining.

"It's easier to meet hot guys, put it this way. It's a lot easier." She convulsed in familiar hilarity. But before various males at Wimbledon decide to get themselves heated, she is highly selective. "It's not just guys, it's everyone. After Wimbledon I was getting so many letters and so many phone calls from people I haven't heard from in five years. People who worked once on my serve called me or were giving interviews saying that's why I won Wimbledon. I find that when I meet new people, I can tell from my first response whether that's someone you would enjoy to be with. It's instinct. You have to have that. Because a lot of things happen behind your back.

"I've seen attitudes towards me change in the locker room but hopefully in a good way. It's hard to say. I'm only 18, a lot on the girls' tour are a lot older. If I was in their position, I would be delighted to see a new generation of players coming through. You haven't seen so many players who are young in the top 10 for a really long time. I hope they appreciate that. But it's hard to know what they are thinking on the inside. They might have a smile on their face, but underneath it might be different. Of course, we are all competitive. You're not going to say, 'All the best to your opponent'."

The competition is all the hotter for the yoyo effect of fortunes this year. Lindsay Davenport, the veteran American who nearly retired a year ago, is up there as women's No 1.

Justine Henin-Hardenne, who has beaten Sharapova twice this year, prevailed at the French Open after a long run of illness and injury. Her fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters defeated Sharapova in Miami, Patty Schnyder beat her in Rome and Serena Williams gained vengeance for Wimbledon by winning their gladiatorial three-set semi-final in Australia. On the plus side, the reigning Wimbledon champion won Doha, Tokyo and, significantly, Birmingham on grass.

All Sharapova knows is that she possesses the right tigerish mentality. She is world No 2 for good reason. "I grew up with a lot of competition at Nick Bollettieri's in Florida. I constantly played matches against older kids. In fact, I'm always with older people in tennis and also businesswise. I not only have to be a player, I also have to be a businesswoman at 18.

"I know I don't seem like a kid, but when I'm back in my hotel room, underneath the tennis player and businesswoman, there's still a lot of me that's 18-years-old. Ish." Giggle. "Behind closed doors, I'm still like a little kid. I'm still growing into myself. Yet when you become 18, you have to put your responsibilities together. You are officially an adult and you have to stand up for yourself. You have your parents, but now there's going to be another grown-up life."

Is this bad news for Youri, her father, her co-coach, her companion, from Nyagan, Siberia, who has been so instrumental in her formation so far while her mother, Yelena, remains indistinct in the background? Is she about, in time-honoured, tennis-tot tradition, to rebel? She turns not a golden hair. "I've always been a really independent person. I've always been really, really picky about the people around me. I've changed so many coaches and travelled with so many different people, I have to enjoy the team around me.

"But when I have my dad around me, he knows when to give me space. Just to have a parent with you, it gives you a whole different feeling. Parents know you best, other people come and go. It's a bit of a cycle. At this point I'm pretty satisfied with the people around me but I have never had any hesitation about losing people. Why wait? Why waste time? Go with your instinct."

It is interesting to discover which traits she inherited from her parents. "My mum's a very elegant lady. She always taught me to be very proper and beautiful on the inside instead of out. To care for others. "From my dad, that's where I've gotten my competitive side. Hee-hee. I always know when he's not happy. He plays tennis, of course, but he's a extreme skier. He's crazy about it. He jumps out of helicopters on to the mountains. No, I would never do that. Hee-hee-hee. I like an island in the sunshine. Typical girl.

"Neither of my parents have given me any pressure. They always tried to find the best tennis facility for me, no matter how much it cost, whatever it was, but I never thought I had to give anything in return. I was given the opportunity to play tennis and they gave everything they could to make me great. But they were not stupid. They knew that not everyone can be a champion. If it didn't work out, they would have gone into a different business. I have never felt any, any pressure to win."

But ask her if she has ever shouted: 'Oh, just shut up, dad,' and she laughs and says: "Of course. I have my dad-and-daughter moments, don't worry. There are times when we get into a fight and not talk for, like, 10 minutes, but we just laugh it off because we know each other so well. For some reason, we just slot together. And there's no trouble with boyfriends either. My dad's really cool with guys. I think he understands I'm already an adult. He's very OK with it."

It might be hard for a teenage girl to see so relatively little of her mother, but she was inured to separation from the age of nine when she emigrated to America with a racket in her hand. She has now been nine years each in east and west. She is a 50-50 citizen of the world. "But, you know, I have always really felt Russian. I have a lot of memories of Russia. It made me who I am. Even when I'm with friends in Florida or LA, I say, 'Oh, that's so American' as though I'm not part of it. I feel you have a piece of home in your heart forever and that is where home is for me." Siberia and the Centre Court.

"Of course, I want to retain my Wimbledon title. I will have shivers going through my whole body when I arrive at the site again." This contrasts with her evident fears of a Wimbledon stalker, but no doubt her up-to-five bodyguards will take care of that, and anyway she is more concerned about what she will be wearing.

There is the teenage girl peeping out through the businesswoman's eyes. One minute she talks of sporting destiny and the next the trim on her dress. "I'm a fashion girl. For my birthday, I asked my friend to get me a mannequin, sized medium, and I want to get a sewing machine but my mum won't let me yet because I've just bought a house. I've got a big variety of clothes. A huge variety. A lot still have the tags on because I haven't had the chance to wear them yet."

Unbelievably, she is still at high school. She has just finished algebra and is gearing up for chemistry and, hopefully, languages. But which one? Spanish, she wondered. It is a difficult choice but one that may be entirely unnecessary. In the world she now inhabits, they just speak in superlatives.

goldenlox
Jun 20th, 2005, 05:46 PM
Maria goes shopping for another day in dreamland

By Ronald Atkin


19 June 2005

Had there ever been doubt that the Wimbledon champion is eager to get on with the defence of her title, Maria Sharapova's arrival well ahead of schedule for our chat immediately dispelled it. Her Women's Tennis Association minder having been wrong-footed by such punctuality, Maria perched alone on a chair outside the All England Club's interview room No 3, looking every cent's worth of the $50m (£27m) she is supposed to be worth, braided blonde hair restrained by a bandana which matched her cummerbund and elegant open-toed, high-heeled shoes.

Shoes are Maria's weakness, the one thing the girl who suddenly has everything still can't resist going out to shop for. On that shopping list, however, shoes come well behind Wimbledon among her favourite things, for it was at Wimbledon 12 months back that what this 18-year-old beauty regards as her destiny came to pass. The inheritance of that destiny was evident on the day Sharapova had dedicated to pre-Wimbledon media matters; clumps of cameramen assembled on the players' tea lawn, with each TV channel allocated a maximum of three minutes for the interviewer to probe the champion's mind and for the lens to roam around this class act. It is impossible to think of another athlete at the top of her profession so stunningly glamorous, so composed, so assured, so confident. Perhaps that is part of Maria's intimidation strategy, to look so brilliant that the opposition will seek the nearest court cover to crawl beneath.

The moment in July 2004 when Sharapova fell to her knees on Centre Court in the chalk dust of the baseline, the moment when Serena Williams had the title torn from her, was, she says now, "the moment that I was brought on earth for". Her first Grand Slam. Still her only Grand Slam. And if she could win another of the major titles, what would it be, Maria?

"A second Wimbledon," she replies firmly. "It means more to me than any other tournament. You just get that feeling inside of you when you come to Wimbledon. There are so many other things about this place, the people, the organisation, the whole site. I feel really comfortable. It's a lot like home to me."

Sharapova is geared for that title defence, aches and pains of the clay-court season banished, basking in the comforting warmth of a title won on grass at Birmingham last weekend. A repeat title, too, which might be interpreted as an omen were she superstitious. Realism, not superstition, is what she deals in. "Of course, defending it is going to be tougher than winning, but hopefully I can just play great tennis. I didn't know I could win last year, and if I don't defend this time that is going to be a major upset in my life. But last year is something I can cherish the rest of my life, it's not like somebody is going to take it away."

On the question of who in particular might be best qualified to knock the crown from her pretty head, Maria stresses that the opposition are all alike as far as she is concerned. "I don't have any rivalries, I get along fine with everyone. I don't harbour hurt feelings against anyone. And I'm not envious of anyone. I just love competing against the top players, win or lose."

Required to assess the threat of Justine Henin-Hardenne, whom she could meet in the semi-finals and to whom she has lost twice recently, in Berlin and at the French Open, Sharapova tabled her admiration for the Belgian battler and her achievements in the face of adversity, pointing out: "I've been through a lot too when I was younger, so I know that these situations make you stronger."

Addressing those defeats, Maria said: "First of all, we were playing on clay, her favourite surface and my least favourite. In Berlin, she played an amazing match when the conditions were heavy and in her favour. I didn't play badly, she was just too good for me. In the French I am not going to say she was the better player, but she was the stronger mentally.

"So can I beat her on grass? I'm going to do my best, and not just against her. But every match with Justine is going to be difficult, no matter where we play."

Becoming Wimbledon champion not only made Sharapova immensely richer, but tougher and better as a tennis player. "Life from that day changed completely. The world woke up to me and it was so amazing. I felt like everyone was touched by it and wanted to become part of it. I got so many things sent to my house. I got clothes, hair products, spa products, flowers, shoes. Usually at Christmas I'm saying I want this or that. But last Christmas I realised I didn't need anything. I have everything, I'm settled.

"But still I need to shop. I could never give that up, even if I had everything in the world. My biggest weakness is shoes. Even if I have 10 pairs of the same style I still want the 11th."

Sharapova would also quite like a stronger serve, but in general is content with the level of improvement over the past 12 months. "Last year I didn't feel I could last two weeks physically. Now I am much more experienced and that helps. I have the 'been there, done that' feeling, so I know how to do it again. I can last through a tournament better now, I can play tougher matches, I recover a lot better. Though there was no particular shot last year that was terrible, I want to make every single shot better than it is now, and that is possible. I also need to get physically stronger, but that doesn't happen overnight. I am still only 18 and my body hasn't matured."

Born on 19 April 1987, Sharapova describes herself as "a typical Aries, I always have to be doing something, I can't sit still even for a few minutes." She reads a lot, running the gamut from Sherlock Holmes to her favourite bedtime books, Pippi Longstocking. Much of Maria's spare time these days is devoted to the setting up of her own charitable foundation. After last year's school massacre in Beslan, she donated the Porsche given to her as winner of the WTA's season-ending championships to that Russian cause, and made black ribbons for the other Russian players to wear.

Born in Siberia and plucked from the Black Sea resort of Sochi at the age of eight to learn tennis the hard way at Nick Bollettieri's Florida academy, Sharapova still makes her home in that state, as her fluent American-accented English demonstrates. Those US leanings persuaded some other Russian women to complain they didn't want her in their team for the international competition, the Fed Cup. Sharapova says airily that all is now resolved and she will play Fed Cup, but not this year.

As for whether she considers she won Wimbledon for Russia, the teenager responds vigorously: "Tennis is an individual sport, and when you win you don't think about who you won it for. It was an amazing moment for me to become the first Russian to win Wimbledon, but you don't think of that right afterwards."

Perhaps so, but a Sharapova repeat at Wimbledon would be guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of many in Mother Russia.

goldenlox
Jun 20th, 2005, 06:42 PM
Man who put the work into Sharapova

Maria Sharapova's coach, Robert Lansdorp, explains how hard work was the making of last year's Wimbledon champion

Eleanor Preston
Monday June 20, 2005
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

Watch Maria Sharapova hit ball after ball on Wimbledon's Aorangi Park practice court over the next fortnight and you might start getting dizzy, mesmerised as that yellow blur flies across court with metronomic consistency as if it were attached to her racket via an invisible elastic cord.


It may not be as glamorous as modelling a Stella McCartney dress, designing her own perfume or any of the other less onerous tasks Russia's most photographed export has been asked to perform since she won Wimbledon but the monotonous, repetitive thud of ball on strings is what made her a champion in the first place.

"There are a lot of things I need to improve on," says the 18-year-old. "I think physically I still have to get stronger. Tennis-wise there are a lot of little things I can improve that can make me a better and smarter player."

Sharapova's coach, Robert Lansdorp, began working with her when she was 11 and, as former pupils like Tracy Austin, Pete Sampras and Lindsay Davenport will testify, he is renowned for the work ethic he demands.

"Robert has made a big impact on my game definitely, because when I was 11 years old I wasn't the kind of person that wanted to practise and hit ball after ball," says Sharapova. "I wasn't consistent enough. When I came to Robert, he was like, 'OK, this girl has to hit ball after ball after ball until this basket is finished.' When I looked in the basket, there were about 1,000 balls in there. My eyes were pretty big when I saw that basket."

"The first time I saw her I spotted that she had an instinctive feel of where the court was but she had this horrible concentration and there were problems with her forehand," says Lansdorp. "She was not very good on hitting 100 balls forehand crosscourt in a row. Once I see that the ball is hit cleanly I will have the player repeat that over and over. And I'm very demanding about where the ball lands."

Lansdorp admits that the young Sharapova sometimes objected to the stringent routines her coach put her through in pursuit of success. It is hard to imagine many 11-year-olds meekly accepting a punishing schedule of an average of four hours a day spent walloping forehands in the muggy Florida summer heat.

"It's just a matter of making her do things that she never liked doing," shrugs Lansdorp. "Now she loves doing it. Every single person that becomes great needs that discipline."

There were plenty of things about Sharapova that Lansdorp concedes he cannot take credit for, not least her innate competitiveness, a fighting spirit which was just as evident when she was a lanky 14-year-old playing in the juniors as it was when she was beating Serena Williams so mercilessly in last year's Wimbledon final.

"When you see Maria off the court, she is easy going but, when she practises, she is intense and then, when she plays her match, she becomes, like, real feisty," says Lansdorp. "When she was 13, I went to watch her play the first pro tournament in Sarasota, in Florida. She lost in three sets and she was crying afterwards and I told her then, 'You don't have a thing to worry about because you're going to be great.' She wasn't good enough then because her shots weren't accurate enough but she had no fear of hitting the ball. Every great champion, they have that when they walk on the court: they have no fear."

Martina Hingis put it more succinctly. "She's as mean as a snake. She reminds me of me." Sharapova laughs but accepts the compliment. "I hope she's right," she says. "I've always been a big competitor and I've always been really mentally tough and I guess that comes with it. You want to win everything you play. I'm like that about everything. If I'm eating a bowl of pasta, then I've got to be doing it faster than anyone else. I'm always, always competitive." And with that she is off, back to the practice court for more hard graft. "In order to be the best you have to dedicate yourself to what you're doing," she says. "I've been willing to do that. Was it worth it? Oh yeah."

clementine
Jul 10th, 2005, 08:21 PM
Here are some nice screen caps of a glamorous Maria that I took. :)

Maria Croft
Jul 10th, 2005, 09:55 PM
http://www.wtaworld.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=37315

she looks so great in this pic :hearts:

thanks for posting :)

sharapovarulz1
Jul 11th, 2005, 11:19 AM
bloody hell she looks gorgeus in that pic! nice 1 summon!

goldenlox
Jul 25th, 2005, 03:18 PM
Published July 24, 2005
Sharapova's second home

http://www.dailypilot.com/images/list_button.gifRussian phenom Maria Sharapova has grown from teen with promise to big star in front of Breakers' faithful.

By Rick Devereux, Daily Pilot

NEWPORT BEACH -- She's back.

Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, returned to the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach Saturday to help the Breakers defeat the visiting St. Louis Aces, 22-16.

It was a much better showing than her last trip to Palisades when Nicole Vaidisova beat the 18-year old Russian, 5-3, in Sharapova's first match after her grand slam victory.

Saturday, Sharapova dominated women's singles, beating the Aces' Jamea Jackson, 5-0.

"I practice in L.A., so Newport Beach is like a second home for me," Sharapova said before the match. "The people have been very supportive."

Sharapova has been a member of the Breakers since 2003 and involved with World Team Tennis since 2002.

"I started with Delaware when I was 14," Sharapova said. "World Team Tennis gave me an opportunity to play when I was young. It's been such an amazing opportunity for me grow."

And grow she has.

The 6-foot blond bombshell is a bona fide celebrity.

She was featured as one of the 50 most beautiful people by People Magazine and is one of the most sought-after female athletes for endorsements.

While Sharapova has been compared to fellow Russian tennis knockout Anna Kounikova, Sharapova was an advantage Kournikova does not: she's a great tennis player.

Sharapova has advanced to the semifinals or better in eight of the 10 tournaments she has played this year, including titles at Tokyo, Doha and Birmingham. She is 41-7 this year and is ranked No. 2 in the world behind Lindsay Davenport.

The format of WTT play is different than what Sharapova experiences on the Women's Tennis Association professional tour, but that is one of draws for her.

"Tennis is such a competitive sport," she said. "I really like the team atmosphere (associated with the WTT). Tennis is such an individual sport, it's nice to play for a team."

Thanks to Sharapova's brilliance Saturday, her team secured a sport in the WTT playoffs.

goldenlox
Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:04 PM
My love affair with Wimbledon
06-June-2005
Once the excitement from turning 18 had begun to cool down, I needed to start to focus on the trip to Europe for the clay and grass court swings. Don’t get me wrong, I had the BEST time over there last summer obviously since I won my first Grand Slam at Wimbledon, but I still find it tough leaving home for such long periods – and I still miss my mom real bad whenever I’m on the road. And I know it might sound a little crazy, but the other thing I REALLY miss is my own bed! Am I complaining? I guess I can't, right?

When I left NYC I played in Berlin, Germany, then Rome, Italy, before finally ending up in Paris for the French Open. After losing in the quarters in Paris to Justine H. it was back in the air and on to jolly ol'e England to get ready for Wimbledon (Can I win it again?) Some people might have forgotten that I also won a tournament in Birmingham just before Wimbledon, which gave me a lot of confidence. I'm playing the same WTA event at Edgbaston this year as part of my preparations for Wimbeldon. Who knows... maybe history will repeat itself again.

I can’t describe how exciting it was to win the Wimbledon title last year and I can’t wait to get back on Center Court to try to do it again.

After the Birmingham tournament, we head down to London and set up base near the courts, which is a really beautiful area of houses, shops and restaurants about five minutes from the All England Club,. I don't get out too much during Wimbledon as I eat most nights in the Players Village (they have a GREAT Thai restaurant there!) and it's really close to where I rent a house for the fortnight (wow... did I write that?). Because I was able to do so well last summer I’m pretty much just trying to do everything the same as I did back then. I’m very superstitious!

A bunch of people have asked me if I feel more pressure this year with the extra expectation of having to try and defend my title, but I don’t really see it that way. Ever since I was small, I’ve dreamt of playing at Wimbledon, and to have won it last year was a dream come true. So just to be returning there is still really special, and it’ll be an amazing feeling to walk out onto Center Court as defending champion.

Outside of tennis I guess I’m just a fairly normal 18-year-old; I love catching up with my friends (my mobile phone bill is always HUGE!), listening to music and shopping, especially for clothes, so it’s nice to be able to take a trip to the famous department store Harrods when I’m in London to try and pick up a couple of extra outfits! Heh... if Gweneth Paltrow can look good in London, so can I.

On court I like to look my best too and I’m lucky that Nike allows me to have quite a bit of input into what I wear, and this year I’ve been working on a new dress just for Wimbledon, so I’m real excited about that too.

As well as working on my grass court game, my preparations might also involve a walk on Wimbledon common this year too. Yeah, you did read that right. Just before the Championships last year, I accidentally stepped in, well, let’s just say something a rabbit had left behind! And I didn’t even realise until someone mentioned the smell! But after what happened out on court last year, I’m treating it as my lucky omen. So if you see me out on the common just before the event begins, you’ll know what I’m looking for!


Birthday Party in the Big Apple
22-April-2005
I’m the first to appreciate that not many people my age have the luxury of an A-list, star-studded 18th birthday party arranged by their sponsor Motorola. They really went out of their way to create such a cool evening for myself, my friends and all the celebs they invited.

The day of the party – 10 days before my actual birthday which is on April 19 – was the most amazing day and one I’ll never forget – exactly what an 18th birthday should be!

The whole experience was everything I could of dream of and more. We took a private jet up to New York City from Florida for the bash (big pimpin'), where I’d just reached the final of the NASDAQ-100 in Miami.

Being a tennis player means a lot of the time I don’t get much of a chance to get glammed up so I’d already decided I was gonna make the most of this opportunity (especially if my parents weren't going to be around... actually my Mom was there).

http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/sharapova/US/1.gifhttp://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/sharapova/US/1.gifhttp://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/sharapova/US/mariablogpic.jpg
I had a stylist help me choose my dress, which was designed by Nicole Miller, and my hair and make-up were taken care of before jumping in a limo to head for the Hiro Ballroom. You have to see this place if you're ever in NYC....
I had to fight my way past the paparazzi and take a couple of interviews but trust me... it was definitely worth it.

Something else I find from spending so much time involved in tennis is that I don’t get much chance to meet people from other walks of life and I was lucky enough to hook up with some really cool people from the world of music, TV and film that came along. Motorola really pulled out all the stops and ensured there was a cool vibe at this place.

The night itself was fantastic. Motorola hired one of my favorite bands to play a private set for all of us. I got to hang out with them for a little while after their show. I couldn't believe how nervous I was to talk to them, but they were pretty chill so after I calmed down a bit we had a nice chat and were able relax just before the DJ started.

One of the other things Motorola pulled together for me (aren't they nice?) was a cool VIP area to use for me and my friends. All the food and drinks were free and Motorola gave me a Pebl v6 phone. I already have a Razr, but who doesn't want a new Pebl? Have you heard or seen these phones? They're soooo cool.

The most amazing cake had been made for me too. it was in the shape of a tennis stadium, and it took me three attempts to blow out all the candles – I guess that’s only gonna get harder as I begin to get older!

One of the best things about the whole couple of days, though, was being able to spend some time with my old friends. I miss them SO bad when I’m away on the Tour and having them with me in New York made a special day one that I’ll always remember.

You'll be hearing from me a lot in the future, so make sure you check back often!

goldenlox
Aug 9th, 2005, 02:13 PM
A nice compliment from Dementieva in here -


Sharapova nears top ranking, eyes long-term domination
Tue Aug 9, 2005 3:43 AM BST

By Matthew Cronin

CARSON, California, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Three victories away from becoming the first Russian woman to attain the number one ranking, Maria Sharapova insists she is more interested in staying at the top than reaching the pinnacle in the first place.

"I know I say this all the time, but I am 18 and it's more important that I'm fully ready to remain number one as long as I can," Sharapova told Reuters on Monday.

"Being there for a week would give me pride, but not as much as staying there for the long term."

Top seeded at this week's JP Morgan Chase Open, Sharapova needs to reach the semi-finals to overhaul American Lindsay Davenport and become the first player from her country to climb to the top of women's tennis.

Last year's Wimbledon champion has a first round bye before a tricky path to the top ranking begins in the second round with a match against her best friend on tour, Maria Kirilenko.

Sharapova could then face 16th seeded compatriot Anna Chakvetadze or possibly the in-form Sania Mirza of India.

Should she advance to the quarter-finals, the ninth seeded Daniela Hantuchova appears likely to be the woman standing between the Russian and the top ranking.

Sharapova realises that the closer she gets to achieving the feat the more questions she will be have to answer about it.

"It's just something else I have to hear," she said. "It's all about locking it out. I've been close before and I'm close now, but I'm not looking at it as a one-week thing."

Whether or not she achieves it this week, the fact a Russian is so close to the milestone is something Sharapova's compatriot Elena Dementieva is all too aware of.

"It's such a big goal for every player that sometimes when you get so close, you can't reach it," the sixth-ranked Dementieva said.

"But I think she can do it and will really deserve it. We all wanted to be the first Russian player to be number one. It means a lot to us and I'm still trying to reach that goal, even if she does it first."

WEAKEST SURFACE

At this event two years ago, Belgium's Kim Clijsters was in a similar position to Sharapova when she had to take the title to become number one for the first time and victory over Davenport in the final was enough to enable her to achieve the goal.

"I didn't think about it until the third set of the final, but I didn't let it influence me," this year's fifth seed said.

"You think about it off court, but I was able to push it aside on court. Maria is very focused on court and I'm sure she won't have any problems with it."

Sharapova was on the verge of taking the number one ranking in May, but came up short at tournaments in Berlin, Rome and the French Open.

However, those events were held on her weakest surface, clay, and the JP Morgan Chase Open is played on hard courts, where she has won titles before.

The task will not be an easy one though, given that Sharapova has been suffering from a lower back injury that forced her to pull out of last week's San Diego Classic.

Knowing that Davenport was out injured (the American also misses this week's event), Sharapova looked destined to claim the top ranking but opted to rest rather than risk damaging her back further.

"My back wasn't that bad, it was just tight and I didn't want to start playing San Diego with a tight back," Sharapova said.

"I was still practicing and doing more strength training. It was more important to have another week of preparation.

"If I wanted number one so bad, I would have played last week, but I wanted to make sure I'm healthy and that I'm ready for the U.S. Open (starting on August 29)."

WIMBLY2004
Aug 10th, 2005, 06:59 AM
Sharapova aims for No. 1
Russian tennis star has a chance to claim the world's top ranking with a trip to the semifinals at the JPMorgan Chase Open.
By Tony Ciniglio
DAILY BREEZE

Teen queen Maria Sharapova is about to don another crown.

At age 18, the Russian superstar has already won a Wimbledon title, the season-ending WTA Championships and posted a top-five finish in the rankings. She has looks that kill and an even deadlier ground game. Her marketability is rising faster than her game, and that's quite a statement.



Sharapova, however, can reach an elite milestone at this week's JPMorgan Chase Open at Home Depot Center. If she advances to the semifinals, the top-seeded Russian will overtake Lindsay Davenport for the No. 1 ranking in the world. If that happens, Sharapova would be the fifth youngest player to be ranked No. 1 and the first Russian. She would be the 15th No. 1 player in WTA history since 1975.

Take that, Anna Kournikova.

Sharapova, however, does not want to be a one-hit wonder.

"I've always dreamed about being the best and being a champion, but I want to make sure that once I'm No. 1, I stay at No. 1," Sharapova said. "I don't want to get there, only to give it up. Plus, I'm only 18, so I've still got my whole career ahead of me."

Sharapova begins her quest for No. 1 tonight after a first-round bye when she takes on countrywoman and close friend Maria Kirilenko, a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 comeback winner on Monday over former Stanford star Marissa Irvin.

Sharapova is trying to do what Kim Clijsters did at the 2003 JP Morgan Chase Open, where she became the world's No. 1 player after winning the Carson tournament.

From her own experience, Clijsters said she expects Sharapova can handle the rigors of being the No. 1 player.

"It was a dream come true, but for me, things didn't change that much," said Clijsters, the fifth seed at this year's tournament. "That's where your management comes in.

"For Maria, she's already got some great sponsorships, and all of that shows what a great tennis player she is. She's not like Anna (Kournikova), who was focused only on the endorsements. Maria has both the endorsements and the tennis."

It seems Sharapova has more cameras on her than a reality-television star, as evidenced by her appearance at the WTA's All-Access Hour on Monday.

Whether Sharapova ascends to the No. 1 spot this week or later this season, she said she knows the demands will increase, both on and off the court.

"It's not very fun when in training, you go for five hours, you come home and you're exhausted. Then it's like ... it's only Monday. There are six more days this week," said Sharapova, who pulled out of last week's Acura Classic in Carlsbad due to a lower back strain.

Mary Pierce, who's still competing at age 30 and won the Acura Classic title last week, said the current crop of top young players will have a shorter tennis lifespan.

"Women's tennis is tougher than it ever was before. The girls are training harder and are faster and stronger," Pierce said. "This generation of players, I don't see them playing more than 10 years. It's so demanding."

Despite the rigors, Sharapova said she wants to maintain a long career.

"Even though there are some tough days, I still love it," Sharapova said. "I want to play until I feel I've had enough, and that won't be for a while, maybe until I'm 30.

"But at the same time, I don't want to be 35 and not have a family. There's more to life, and there's so much I want to explore and experience."

Sharapova definitely has a style of her own.

She is an aspiring fashion designer and said she wants to attend fashion design school. She is only three classes away from earning her high school degree through an online course, trudging through chemistry and economics after having just recently completed algebra.

"I love fashion and I love designing, but I'm a terrible drawer," Sharapova said. "When I have great ideas, I have to try to incorporate them with friends."

Sharapova's popularity with fans was evident on Monday, which was Maria Sharapova Bobblehead Night at Home Depot Center.

The collectibles didn't look much like Sharapova, though, but she didn't seem to mind.

"You just have to laugh at that. It's not something to take seriously," Sharapova said.

nouf
Aug 10th, 2005, 02:18 PM
my article!

http://mashafan.free.fr/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=194&mode=&order=0&thold=0

title in english"The bee Sharapova is flying to the third round" copyright Nouf! :-)

goldenlox
Aug 10th, 2005, 05:26 PM
Мария Шарапова сделала первый шаг к званию первой ракетки мира. Во втором круге теннисного турнира в Лос-Анджелесе "сибирская сирена" обыграла свою лучшую подругу россиянку Марию Кириленко - со счетом 7:6 (9:7), 6:2. Для Шараповой этот матч стал первым после затяжных каникул, которые Маша устроила себе после выхода в полуфинал Уимблдона.

Нужно сказать, что выходить из отпуска всегда тяжело – необходимо время на "раскачку". Именно так и произошло в случае с Шараповой. Мыслимое ли дело, чтобы Маша три раза на харде проигрывала свою подачу? В поединке с тезкой Кириленко "королева стонов" трижды в первом сете уступала на собственной подаче и трижды находила в себе силы отыграться. В итоге судьба партии решилась на тай-брейке, в котором со счетом 9:7 победила чемпионка Уимблдона-2004.

Во втором сете вопросов о победителе даже не возникало. Проиграв первый гейм, Шарапова затем взяла пять геймов подряд и повела 5:1. Итоговый счет – 6:2 в пользу пока еще второй ракетки мира. Матч продолжался полтора часа, включая время на медицинский перерыв, который вынуждена была взять Кириленко во второй партии: у нее начались боли в правом локте.

"Поверьте, первый матч после затяжного перерыва всегда складывается тяжело, - отметила Шарапова после окончания игры. – Вы можете тренироваться хоть 24 часа в сутки, но когда дело доходит до реальной игры и тебе противостоит сильный соперник, то все оборачивается совершенно неожиданным образом. Пока моя главная задача – почувствовать игру на этом покрытии".

Мария скромно сказала, что ее сейчас больше интересует победа на отдельно взятом турнире, чем звание первой ракетки мира. Впрочем, до него не так уж и далеко. Шараповой нужно всего лишь выйти в полуфинал, то есть выиграть еще два матча. Тогда турнир в Лос-Анджелесе войдет в число 17 лучших для Маши по итогам 52 недель, и рейтинговые очки, набранные на турнире, пойдут в зачет рейтинга Wta.

"Я знаю, что звания первой ракетки добивались немногие теннисистки, но для меня гораздо важнее быть первой всерьез и надолго, чем встать во главе мирового рейтинга за счет сопутствующих обстоятельств – травм соперниц, удачного выступления на каких-то турнирах, - отметила Шарапова. – Можно порадоваться тому, что станешь первой в мире на неделю, но гордиться можно, только если будешь удерживаться на вершине как можно дольше".

Кстати, следующей соперницей Шараповой может стать еще одна россиянка – Анна Чакветадзе. В том случае, конечно, если в матче второго круга обыграет чешку Ивету Бенешову. На открытом чемпионате Франции в нынешнем году Чакветадзе и Шарапова провели единственный пока свой матч. Победа досталась Марии, но в какой борьбе! С Бенешовой Шарапова пока еще не играла.

Правда, в турнирной части сетки среди соперниц у Маши много соотечественниц, а играть с ними всегда тяжелее, чем с кем-то другим. Многие журналисты (в основном российски гоняются за любым фактом, говорящим об ухудшении отношений между Шараповой и кем-то из российских теннисисток. Но на все вопросы очень достойный ответ дала Елена Дементьева, также играющая в Лос-Анджелесе.


"Для любой теннисистки мира звание первой ракетки является основной целью в карьере, - подчеркнула она. – Я буду болеть за Машу Шарапову, чтобы ей удалось добиться этого успеха. Ведь еще никогда в истории российская теннисистка не поднималась на вершину мирового рейтинга. Я тоже постараюсь этого достичь, но Маша, скорее всего, сделает это раньше".

goldenlox
Aug 11th, 2005, 04:48 PM
Sharapova, others have shot at Open

By Matthew Cronin
Special to ESPN.com
Archive (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/archive?columnist=cronin_matthew&root=tennis)





Although Maria Sharapova could become the world's top-ranked player this week at the JP Morgan Chase Open in Carson, Calif., it certainly hasn't been a dominant year for a group of players who combined to snare four out of five major titles and the Fed Cup crown last year.

In 2004, Anastasia Myskina won the French Open, Sharapova won Wimbledon and the WTA Championships, and Svetlana Kuznetsova took the U.S. Open.



http://espn.starwave.com/media/ten/2004/0703/photo/a_sharapova_i.jpg
Maria Sharapova can't believe she's going to the ball.




But this year, no Russian player has made it to a Grand Slam final.

"It's very difficult to win three Grand Slams again," said Elena Dementieva, who reached the French Open and U.S. Open finals last year. "Life is not that way, it's up and down. But it hasn't been a bad year for Russian players, we've had some good results. It's not over yet."

It's certainly not for Sharapova, who will renew her four-month-long quest for the top ranking this week. And it's not for fourth-ranked Kuznetsova, who believes she can get back on track in time for the U.S. Open. The same goes for No. 6 Dementieva, who also believes she can reach No. 1.

In fact, the Russians are looking very good on paper as the top four seeds in Carson -- Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Dementieva and ninth-ranked Nadia Petrova. Four more Russian players were seeded in the rest of the tournament's top 16.

With top-ranked Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams out with injuries and Venus Williams out of action with what she called a case of the flu, no Americans are seeded in the tournament.

"Russians are looking pretty tough right now. Look at this draw. What would they do without Russian players?" Dementieva asked with a laugh.

Tournaments can cheer the bold bunch from Eastern Europe all they want, but the reality is that most of them haven't yet shown they have real staying power among the sport's elite.

"It's already a big achievement to have a Grand Slam title under your belt," said Petrova, who has never won a WTA singles crown. "If you can do it year after year, you are a goddess."

No one in this group has shown herself to be an on-court deity, although the wildly popular Sharapova has reached ethereal status in earnings off the court. She had a bobble-head doll cast in her image this week, although she agrees it looks nothing like her. "You just have to laugh at it."

She also has had a decent year on court, winning three titles and reaching the second week of every Grand Slam. But at the majors, she has shown vulnerability -- losing a chance at a berth in the final to eventual winner Serena in Australia, being schooled by eventual champ Justine Henin-Hardenne in the French quarterfinals and, last month, she couldn't find a way to punch through Venus' steely defense in the Wimbledon semis.

"I told myself not to look back," Sharapova told ESPN.com . "Of course I wanted to do everything possible to win Wimbledon because it's my favorite tournament, but [Venus] played amazing.

"I did everything possible on that day and maybe if it was on another, I would have been able to do more, but it was one of those one- or two-point things that happen. I have to look ahead."

Sharapova can't afford to look back because her last chance at a major tournament achievement is just weeks around the corner at the Open. If she is going to win in New York, she's going to have to step up her slow hard-court game.

She has won only one Tier II title on outdoor cement in her career, and Mary Pierce relentlessly pounded shots at her while Sharapova stared into space at last year's Open.

Her results against the top players on U.S. hard courts have not been spectacular, either. She was shut out against Davenport back in March in the Indian Wells semis, then was outrun by Kim Clijsters in the Miami final.

Sharapova admitted that the deluge of attention she received after winning last year's Wimbledon title overwhelmed her.

"It was different situation last year," she said. "Things were too hectic for me, and I couldn't really find myself mentally with all that was going around me. It wasn't me out there. Now it's totally different. I've had a whole year of learning, especially against top players."

She's a very powerful, clean hitter with a big serve and bullet return, but still can be exposed on the run. Her balance of offense and defense hasn't been constant, and on slow hard courts, that matters a great deal.

"I have to make sure that I'm not always going for winners," said Sharapova, who has never won a U.S. outdoor hard-court title. "There's a lot of variety in the game, but that's not going to take away from my main game, my pride. I'm not all of a sudden [going to] become a totally defensive player, but I am going to put little things into my game that are going to make me a better player."

Even if Sharapova finds her stamina, Kuznetsova finds her drive, Dementieva finds her serve, Petrova finds her nerve and Myskina rediscovers her love of the game, it may not matter in New York.

Four of the game's most celebrated players -- the Williams sisters, Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters -- were either hurt, sick or in a slump last year. The door was left wide open. Now, the Russians are going to have to jar it open once again.

"This year, there are other players coming back & ," Petrova said. "It's not that wide open for us anymore, but it's still going well.

"We're not going away."

goldenlox
Aug 11th, 2005, 05:30 PM
quotes after the Kirilenko match -

"I've known her for such a long time, we're such good buddies. It's hard to play a good friend, especially in the first round, but I'm sure we'll have a lot of opportunities to play each other more.

"I knew she would give it all she had, because a lot of players ranked where she is have nothing to lose when they play me. That's something I have to accept.

"It was tough to close out the first set. I was up 0/40 on her serve at 6-5 and she came up with some good shots. The first set really could have gone anywhere, so I was really happy to win it.

"Once I toughen the first set out, I thought I was pretty much in control. After those long points, I know the opponent starts thinking `this is what you have to do for two more sets in order to win.' Mentally you get stronger, you do that all in the first few games in the set and feel my opponent might break down.

"There was a lot of rustiness, that's for sure. The first match after a lay-off is tough. First matches are always tough. You practise hard and work on a lot of things, but the actual competition is totally different. You never know, you have to go out there and shake it all off. I was just trying to get in a groove, get my feet wet. Overall there's lots of room for improvement.

"Winning the tournament is all I'm thinking about. I'm more focused on winning the tournament than becoming No. 1 for now. If I keep winning I'll become No. 1. Being No. 1 is just a number on a paper but being No. 2 is not that bad either."

goldenlox
Aug 11th, 2005, 07:18 PM
Born-to-win superstar Maria Sharapova dazzles at the Open

by Paul Teetor

http://easyreader.hermosawave.net/news2005/0811/coverstory.jpg
Maria Sharapova got her own bobblehead this week at the JP Morgan Chase Open. If she wins the tournament she'll also get the number one ranking in woman's tennis.



Robert Lansdorp is just her coach, but he sure sounded like an expectant father.

“She’ll be my fourth number one,” the 66-year-old Lansdorp said Tuesday night as he sat in the outdoor cocktail lounge looking down at the stadium court where Maria Sharapova warmed up for her second round match at the JPMorgan Chase Open. “No one else has ever done that.”

Lansdorp made his mystical, Obi-Wan-Kenobi reputation by developing three Palos Verdes Peninsula phenoms – Tracy Austin, Pete Sampras and Lindsay Davenport – into tennis Hall-of-Famers. But the sheer speed of Sharapova’s ascent – two years ago she came to Carson as a 16-year-old unknown and made it to the third round, where she took a set off eventual champion Kim Clijsters – has shocked even her long-time coach.

“I knew she’d be number one the first time I saw her at 10 years old,” he said wistfully. “But everything has come so fast for her. I want her to feel she had to fight for it, so that when she becomes number one she stays number one for a long time.”

Lansdorp recalled that two years ago the story line here turned on whether Clijsters would win the tournament and thus gain enough points to move up to the top ranking. “Maria could only dream about something like that two years ago,” he said. “Now she’s living the exact same situation.”

Well, not quite. All Sharapova has to do this week is make the semifinals – highly likely, considering she was already into the third round as of Tuesday night – and the all-knowing computer will anoint her number one, overtaking Davenport, who is out this week with an injury.

At a burly 6-foot-2 with a shaggy head of silvery hair, Lansdorp is an imposing physical presence. Several fans that noticed him stopped to say hi as he conducted his interview with the Easy Reader.

“I seem to have a lot more fans since Maria became so famous,” he said. “Especially male fans.”



It girl

After being the ER’s very own Cover Girl in mid-August 2003 – in a story in which we predicted she would be number one “within a few years” -- Sharapova didn’t play Carson last year. She was too busy riding the emotional – and commercial – high of being the youngest Wimbledon winner ever a month earlier. So, until this week, Beach City tennis fans haven’t had a chance to see her up close and personal in the last 24 months.

No matter how big, how flat or how plasmatic the screen, TV just isn’t the same as being there when it comes to a sport where the atmosphere is intimate – like in the Home Depot Center’s beautiful cathedral of a tennis stadium -- and where the hot young ladies in tight outfits are part of the sport’s curb appeal.

The Sharapova who walked out on the court at twilight Tuesday to wild applause and catcalls, was a vision that set off a thousand digital cameras. An Amazonian blond beauty in neon green and gold, she has grown from 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-2, taken on the confident demeanor that comes with achieving her wildest dreams early, and has gracefully and fearlessly accepted the It Girl designation by a sport that tends to eat its young – see Martina Hingis, Anna Kournakova, the Williams sisters…

Her game, while a bit more refined, is essentially the same one she unveiled two years ago: a huge serve, wheel-of-fire groundstrokes, suffocating court coverage and a raw but improving volley. And of course she floats around the court with an otherworldly gracefulness, a leggy colt blessed with stop-on-a-Euro agility, great quickness and incredible reach. What separates her from the pack is her high-risk, high-reward willingness to go for the corners and be the aggressor every single point. She is always looking to attack, even on the few points she is forced to play defense. And once she gets a short ball to work with, the point is over.

Warming up for her first match since failing to defend her Wimbledon title – she lost in the semis to eventual champion Venus Williams – Sharapova towered over her equally-blond-and-nearly-as-talented best friend, Maria Kirilenko, four months older and ranked 48 spots behind her.

The two look-alike phenoms – both wore color-coordinated visors beneath the stadium lights -- started out following the media’s script, with Sharapova winning most of the long rallies when she wasn’t banging big serves for winners. She broke serve right away, went up 2-0 and the crowd settled back for the Sharapova show promised in every single promotion, poster and press release since February.

goldenlox
Aug 11th, 2005, 07:19 PM
Anatomy of a win

But these two teenagers have played a million times in practice and are always trying to outthink each other. Suddenly Kirilenko started winning the long rallies with her equally fierce groundstrokes. Sharapova donated a few going-for-too-much unforced errors and before anyone knew what happened Kirilenko was up 3-2. Now Sharapova paced like a caged tiger while Lansdorp and her father, Yuri Sharapov, leaned down from their side-by-side courtside seats trying not to look too worried.

They traded service breaks the rest of the set, battling all the way to 6-5, 0-40 Sharapova, with three set points for the taking. But Kirilenko, an equally great competitor and a little more precise in her tactics and strategy than Sharapova, fought off all three break points to eventually get into the tiebreaker.

When Kirilenko went up 2-1 in the breaker an impatient voice cried out from the bleacher bums high up in the stadium “Come on, Sharapova, let’s go already” and many fans clapped nervously. Now both players bore down hard, bending deep to hit their two-handed laser backhands, running into their buggy-whip forehands at full speed and covering the court like a June Gloom fog at dawn.

Kirilenko went up 3-2 but Sharapova tied it and then went up 4-3 on what appeared to be two consecutive bad calls by the linesman on the far baseline. The crowd, which backed Kirilenko as long as she didn’t do anything crazy like actually win the match, went wild whistling and yelling to correct the injustice. Kirilenko, normally a sweetheart, stalked around the court and refused to continue play, at one point even pointing her racket at the chair umpire like a weapon. But the calls stood and they finally resumed at 4-3.

Sharapova smacked a service winner to go up 5-4, but after a 26-ball rally Kirilenko rifled a gorgeous backhand past a frustrated Sharapova to level at 5-5. Now the crowd, which had swelled to at least 5,000, buzzed with excitement as slicksters on cell phones whispered loudly about the hot babes slugging it out in front of them -- and check the news at 11 to see if you spot me, alright?

Sharapova, by now shrieking every time she hit the ball, hit corner after corner with her dominating forehand and finally drew an error from a lunging Kirilenko to go up 6-5 for her fourth set point. But Kirilenko showed why she is such a hot prospect on the tour, coming in behind a beautiful service return to hit a backhand volley winner before Sharapova could get into the rally.

Now it was 6-6 and they changed sides again while the buzz grew, cameras clicking like crickets. Sharapova increased her aggression level and hit her own backhand volley winner to go up 7-6 for her fifth set point. But again Kirilenko won a long rally and leveled at 7-7. Now Sharapova reared back and banged an ace, and on her sixth set point she finally maneuvered Kirilenko into a running forehand that clipped the top of the net and fell back. Sharapova exhaled and raised her arms more in relief than triumph.

The second set was a formality – Kirilenko took an injury break right in the middle – and before you could eat one of the $6.50 lobster sandwiches it was all over, 7-6 (7), 6-2 and Sharapova was moving on toward her destiny. And showing she had also worked on her media skills.

Asked if it was true as reported in the Los Angeles Times Tuesday morning that she is now 6-foot-2, she giggled winningly. “Unfortunately, yes,” she said. “You should see me in heels.”

The crowd loved it and the love flowed both ways as she hit balls into the stands and signed an unending procession of hats, programs and those huge, annoying fuzzy-yellow tennis balls.

“She loves being a star,” Lansdorp said as she talked and signed at the same time. “She was born to be a star.”



Tourney tip sheet

While Sharapova is the even-money favorite to win the tournament that runs through Sunday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, there are plenty of other contenders even without Davenport, who withdrew very late because of an injury, and Williams, who withdrew early because of a lingering psychological issue: climbing to the mountaintop is a lot harder the second time around.

Two days of watching the practice courts and talking to coaches and media produced the following championship tip sheet, along with the odds of each contender cashing the winners’ $93,000 check Sunday afternoon.

http://easyreader.hermosawave.net/news2005/0811/cover-vt.jpg



Mary Pierce – At the grand old age of 30 she’s having a late career comeback and is hitting the ball as solidly as ever. The problem, also as ever, comes in her movement: she’s a poor woman’s Davenport, a great ball striker when she has time to set up but wildly inconsistent when you can get her on the run. Deserves a ton of credit for overcoming one of the worst tennis dads of all time and carving out a life of her own and a long career just below the superstar level. Odds: 4:1

Kim Clijsters: Another comeback kid at the age of 22. Not from the yearlong ankle injury that knocked her from the number one spot but rather from her near-disastrous engagement to Australian twerp Lleyton Hewitt, currently ranked third in the world but first in the rude-crude-and-lewd, most-hated-since-Connors department. Aussie Kim has gone back to being sweet, thoughtful Belgian Kim and her game is blossoming to the point where she is again a serious contender for number one. The best retriever and defender in the game, she is a great athlete whose signature move – the full-tilt split while retrieving a short, wide shot – always amazes the crowd. Odds: 2:1

Elena Dementieva: Lansdorp confessed that now that Sharapova is about to be number one, he hopes that Dementieva – another willowy young Russian blond beauty – will reach out to him to make that final leap to the top. “I could fix that serve of hers,” he said, pinpointing the only thing holding back the brainy beauty whose fiery groundstokes are usually enough to overcome her horrible serve. It’s an albatross around her lovely neck, primarily because her sideways service toss ensures that in most matches EVERY SINGLE SERVE goes to the opponents’ forehand side, assuming they’re right-handed. It makes her serve more predictable than Jay Leno armed with a new Michael Jackson rumor, and everybody attacks it because they don’t want to get into a long rally with her. She’s projected to meet Sharapova in Saturday’s semifinals, which could be a classic match. Odds: 3:1

Svetlana Kuznetsova – Last year’s US Open winner is showing signs of being a one-hit wonder. While she has beautiful strokes and is extremely fit despite her stocky build, she has been mentally fragile at critical moments against the top players, trying crazy shots and going for too much too soon. But there’s plenty of time to recover for the young Russian and a win here could start her toward a US Open repeat. Odds: 3:1.

Katerina Bondarenko – This Ukranian teenager won the junior Wimbledon title last year and is a rising star with a bullet on the WTA tour. She has a ferocious serve that is consistently in the 110-mph range, plays with an animal passion and has the groundstroke weapons to go all the way. Currently ranked 195th, she battled her way through qualifying into the main draw and Tuesday afternoon took out 39th ranked Evgenia Linetskaya, winning the first set 6-0 while hitting shots that drew gasps from the crowd. Unfortunately, she would have to face Sharapova in Friday’s quarterfinals if they both got that far. Odds: 25:1.

Shuai Peng – Another star of the near future, this 19-year-old Chinese woman is leading the Chinese side of the Asian Invasion – seven of this week’s 64 players are either Japanese or Chinese. She has a beautiful game featuring two-handed strokes on both sides. Most coaches fear it will hold back her tremendous potential by limiting her reach and touch on the forehand, but she seems comfortable with it and is rocketing up the rankings, now at a career-high 46. Odds: 25:1.

goldenlox
Aug 13th, 2005, 02:30 PM
Injury Slows Sharapova's Move to No. 1

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

Maria Sharapova is on her way to becoming No. 1 in the world. She'll have to put the celebration on hold for another 10 days, though.

Sharapova withdrew from the JPMorgan Chase Open because of a strained chest muscle Friday, postponing her move from No. 2 into the top spot. The tournament's top seed was scheduled to play ninth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in an evening quarterfinal match.

A victory would have given the 18-year-old Russian enough points to overtake injured American Lindsay Davenport as No. 1.

Instead, Sharapova will become the first Russian to hold the top spot on Aug. 22. She will be the fifth youngest at No. 1, and the 15th player in that coveted spot since the WTA Tour rankings began in 1975.

Sharapova is entered in next week's tournament at Toronto, but she said the chances of her playing are "not very big."

Whether she plays another match or not, she'll overtake Davenport in the rankings points. Davenport did not enter Toronto.

"The computer doesn't lie," said Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion. "You have to achieve something to get there. It's been an amazing two years and the achievement is amazing."

Sharapova received treatment on her injured right chest muscle Friday morning, but was in too much pain to practice and decided to withdraw.

"I didn't find any miracle cream that would work," she said, smiling. "I can do a lot of things with my arm, except serve and hit a forehand."

Sharapova had hinted Thursday that her status was doubtful. She said she played in pain during a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 third-round win over Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.

She said the injury on her right side affected her ability to serve hard and pound forehands, the biggest strengths of her game.

The WTA Tour said Sharapova's injury occurred during practice Monday, although she said she originally strained the chest muscle in October at a tournament in Zurich, playing with heavier balls.

"Since then, it's been an on and off problem for me," she said Thursday. "I don't think the pain is going to go away with me trying to play and hit as hard as I can."

She had an MRI on Wednesday that showed the muscle is inflamed, not torn. She had it taped for Thursday's match, but the tape restricted her movement.

Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 4 seed Nadia Petrova.

Clijsters improved to 13-1 this year against Russian players, and 4-0 against Petrova in her career.

"The Russians play a similar type of game, they hit the ball hard and consistent. I enjoy playing them," she said. "I kept her moving from side to side. I had to mix it up."

Clijsters next will meet 13th-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over 33-year-old Conchita Martinez of Spain.

Hantuchova advanced via walkover to her third semifinal of the year. She will play the winner of the evening match between No. 3 Elena Dementieva and qualifier Tathiana Garbin of Italy.

Sharapova insisted Thursday that she felt no pressure to continue playing despite the tournament being hard hit by the earlier injury withdrawals of Davenport, Serena Williams, Mary Pierce, Vera Zvonareva, Elena Likhovtseva and Ai Sugiyama.

"It's not important for me to play," she said, adding that her goal is to be healthy for the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 29.

With the losses of Davenport and Williams, tournament promoters had focused their advertising on Sharapova, including a giveaway of 5,000 bobblehead dolls in her likeness Friday night.

"It is a bit of a flukish thing that we've had that many players injured at the same time," said Larry Scott, WTA Tour chairman and CEO.

He congratulated Sharapova on her impending move up.

"It's a bittersweet moment that the fans can't see her do it on the court," he said.

Andy.
Aug 14th, 2005, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the articles GL

Andy Mac
Aug 14th, 2005, 06:00 PM
Sharapova top seed in Rogers Cup tennis tournament despite injury

JULIE SCOTT 11 minutes ago

TORONTO (CP) - Maria Sharapova is the top seed for the $1.3-million US Rogers Cup but there's no guarantee the Russian star will be healthy enough to play in the women's tennis tournament.

Sharapova, the most popular player on the WTA Tour and biggest draw of the Toronto event, was slotted atop the drawsheet Saturday, just a day after she withdrew from the JPMorgan Chase Open in California because of a strained pectoral muscle.

As of Saturday, Sharapova hadn't withdrawn from the Rogers Cup, which gets under way Monday at the Rexall Centre.

Stacey Allaster, the tournament's director, described Sharapova's status as "day-to-day". As one of the top eight seeds, she has a first-round bye and won't play until midweek.

"It's definitely too early for her to withdraw because her first match wouldn't be until Wednesday," said Allaster.

Sharapova, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, was to have two injury treatments Saturday and two more Sunday before trying to hit some balls Monday.

"At that time, they'll probably assess if the treatment is really helping the injury that she has and we'll find out definitively if she'll be able to join us," said Allaster.

While Allaster said Sharapova really wants to play, she did admit the injury was "pretty serious."

"They're going to do their very best with these treatments today and tomorrow and we'll just have to see how here body responds," she said. "It's not 50-50 that's for sure."

If Sharapova drops out, a lucky loser will get her spot in the main draw.

Three Canadians received wild cards into the tournament. Marie-Eve Pelletier of Repentigny, Que., the top-ranked Canadian on the WTA Tour at No. 116, will face No. 74 Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela while 253rd-ranked Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., will have her hands full with Japan's Shinobu Asagoe, who's ranked 29th in the world. Stephanie Dubois of Laval, Que., ranked 149th, drew a qualifier.

"I've played Vento before and I've seen her a lot throughout the years," said Pelletier. "I just love to play here in Toronto.

"I'm really excited to have the home crowd."

Canadians were 0-for-7 in qualifying Saturday. Toronto's Maureen Drake and Sharon Fichman, Ekaterina Shulaeva of Oakville, Ont., Valerie Tetreault of St. Jean Sur Richelieu, Que., Melanie Gloria of Montreal, Heidi El Tabakh of London, Ont., and Jillian O'Neill of Beaconsfield, Que., all suffered first-round losses.

But 14-year-old Fichman, who was defeated 6-0, 6-1 by Rika Fujiwara of Japan, said it was a great learning experience.

"It was my second match in a professional tournament," she said. "It's a new level and it takes time to get used to."

News of Sharapova's injury Friday came just hours before American Venus Williams withdrew due to the flu. No. 13-ranked Australian Alicia Molik and No. 16 Russian Elena Bovina also withdrew earlier in the week.

But losing top-flight players is nothing new for the lone Canadian stop on the WTA calendar. In 2003, several top-ranked players backed out, including American Jennifer Capriati on the day of the draw, while last year's event in Montreal was also missing several top players.

Despite the loss of Williams and Sharapova's uncertain status, the tournament still features 14 of the top 20 players, including defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France, Williams' sister, Serena, Belgian stars Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Myskina and Montreal-born Mary Pierce, who plays for France.

Pierce, the No. 8 seed, has been struggling with a thigh injury but is hoping to play here. Like Sharapova, she has a first-round bye.

"I'm talking to Mary daily," said Allaster. "The fact that Venus withdrew was actually a benefit to Mary because now she's in the top eight."

Mauresmo is seeded second, followed by Kuznetsova, Henin-Hardenne, Serena Williams, Russian Nadia Petrova, Clijsters and Pierce.

After playing for France in the Fed Cup last month, Mauresmo took a few weeks off to rest and practise in Europe. The Rogers Cup will be key to her preparation for the U.S. Open later this month. But she says something else motivates her to do well in Toronto.

"I'm coming here as the defending champion so I really want to try to hold that trophy," she said. "Of course it's great preparation for the Open but you also want to focus on what you have to do here."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/cpress/2005...HE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

waratahsrock
Aug 17th, 2005, 06:35 AM
Kiwi Bid For Sharapova Fails
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View larger image
(http://xtramsn.co.nz/news/0,,12088-4665494,00.html)
Maria Sharapova
Reuters


17/08/2005
NewstalkZB
You have to give ASB Classic tournament director Richard Palmer some credit for trying.

Palmer launched an audacious bid to secure world tennis number two Maria Sharapova for January's tournament in Auckland, but has been beaten to her signature by the rival Gold Coast tournament.

Russian star Anna Kournikova was lured down under a few years ago and Palmer was confident he could nab the current Russian glamour girl.

He says they have been in consultation with her agent and got the word only last week that Sharapova would go to the Gold Coast, but in the future they have not ruled out playing in Auckland.

Palmer confirmed that sponsors were prepared to offer a financial incentive to entice Sharapova to play in Auckland but it was not enough.

He won't say how much they were prepared to pay to lure the star down under.

He heads off to the US Open next week and is optimistic he will be able to secure a top ten player for the ASB Classic.

admittedly the chances of Maria ever comming here are extremely slim, but it is only a tier 4.
i'm pretty gutted that i've booked all my holidays in the near future, i would've gone to the gold coast, but will have to wait for the Aussie Open!

Andy Mac
Aug 17th, 2005, 03:38 PM
thanks mate

katrientje
Aug 18th, 2005, 07:44 AM
8-18-05: Sharapova Dating Maroon 5's Levine



Levine leg ova Sharapova
By EMILY SMITH
US Editor

TENNIS babe Maria Sharapova is dating Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine.

The stunning blonde has been secretly seeing American rocker Adam, 26, after they met in a New York club.

They got together in April after he serenaded the 2004 Wimbledon champion during her 18th birthday party at trendy Hiro.

A friend of the Maroon 5 heart-throb said: “Adam always has a lot of women after him. But he really likes Maria, and they have been seeing each other quietly for months.”

Adam, whose hit single She Will Be Loved propelled his band to worldwide fame, had been dating model Kelly McGee.

But they split last year after Robbie Williams kept chatting her up. He said at the time: “I am having a massive feud with Robbie Williams at the moment — do you know who he is?

“I had to warn that dude to stay away. He just kept hitting on my girlfriend. That man will hit on anyone. He is unbelievable.”

Adam was also previously linked to actress Natalie Portman.

Russian Maria is set to earn a staggering £20million this year from endorsement deals alone.

She previously said she was too busy with her tennis for boyfriends — despite being linked with Spanish ace Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Los Angeles-based Maroon 5 have had an amazing eight months.

Their debut album Songs About Jane sold three million copies. And single This Love was the first to become a platinum download.

Roshane
Aug 18th, 2005, 08:16 AM
Wow! She earns a lot of money. 20 million pounds = $37 million

maybe is there a mistake? Did they mean $20 million???

Maria Croft
Aug 18th, 2005, 10:12 AM
8-18-05: Sharapova Dating Maroon 5's Levine



Levine leg ova Sharapova
By EMILY SMITH
US Editor

TENNIS babe Maria Sharapova is dating Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine.

The stunning blonde has been secretly seeing American rocker Adam, 26, after they met in a New York club.

They got together in April after he serenaded the 2004 Wimbledon champion during her 18th birthday party at trendy Hiro.

A friend of the Maroon 5 heart-throb said: “Adam always has a lot of women after him. But he really likes Maria, and they have been seeing each other quietly for months.”

Adam, whose hit single She Will Be Loved propelled his band to worldwide fame, had been dating model Kelly McGee.

But they split last year after Robbie Williams kept chatting her up. He said at the time: “I am having a massive feud with Robbie Williams at the moment — do you know who he is?

“I had to warn that dude to stay away. He just kept hitting on my girlfriend. That man will hit on anyone. He is unbelievable.”

Adam was also previously linked to actress Natalie Portman.

Russian Maria is set to earn a staggering £20million this year from endorsement deals alone.

She previously said she was too busy with her tennis for boyfriends — despite being linked with Spanish ace Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Los Angeles-based Maroon 5 have had an amazing eight months.

Their debut album Songs About Jane sold three million copies. And single This Love was the first to become a platinum download.

:lol: yeah right :tape:

@m@nd@
Aug 18th, 2005, 12:25 PM
8-18-05: Sharapova Dating Maroon 5's Levine



Levine leg ova Sharapova
By EMILY SMITH
US Editor

TENNIS babe Maria Sharapova is dating Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine.

The stunning blonde has been secretly seeing American rocker Adam, 26, after they met in a New York club.

They got together in April after he serenaded the 2004 Wimbledon champion during her 18th birthday party at trendy Hiro.

A friend of the Maroon 5 heart-throb said: “Adam always has a lot of women after him. But he really likes Maria, and they have been seeing each other quietly for months.”

Adam, whose hit single She Will Be Loved propelled his band to worldwide fame, had been dating model Kelly McGee.

But they split last year after Robbie Williams kept chatting her up. He said at the time: “I am having a massive feud with Robbie Williams at the moment — do you know who he is?

“I had to warn that dude to stay away. He just kept hitting on my girlfriend. That man will hit on anyone. He is unbelievable.”

Adam was also previously linked to actress Natalie Portman.

Russian Maria is set to earn a staggering £20million this year from endorsement deals alone.

She previously said she was too busy with her tennis for boyfriends — despite being linked with Spanish ace Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Los Angeles-based Maroon 5 have had an amazing eight months.

Their debut album Songs About Jane sold three million copies. And single This Love was the first to become a platinum download.

:haha:

goldenlox
Aug 18th, 2005, 02:08 PM
MAROON 5 (http://www.contactmusic.com/new/artist.nsf/artistnames/maroon%205) singer ADAM LEVINE (http://www.contactmusic.com/new/artist.nsf/artistnames/adam%20levine) has reportedly been enjoying a secret romance with tennis superstar MARIA SHARAPOVA for months - despite the busy blonde's apparent reluctance to date.

The pair met at New York nightspot Hiro, when the SHE WILL BE LOVED star Levine serenaded the Wimbledon champion at her 18th birthday bash (APR05).

And although Sharapova has insisted she is too busy for love, she appears to be making time for the hunky 26-year-old.

A friend tells British newspaper The Sun, "Adam always has a lot of women after him. But he really likes Maria, and they have been seeing each other quietly for months."

Maria Croft
Aug 18th, 2005, 02:27 PM
As soon as two famous people from the opposite sex are spotted together they are a couple :lol:

the media is so very sad.....

I especially always like the part when they say that 'a friend said' this and that :p

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Aug 18th, 2005, 02:43 PM
As soon as two famous people from the opposite sex are spotted together they are a couple :lol:

the media is so very sad.....

I especially always like the part when they say that 'a friend said' this and that :p


like the Andy and Maria thingy...


Poor pathetic tabloids...

jacobruiz
Aug 18th, 2005, 02:48 PM
MAROON 5 (http://www.contactmusic.com/new/artist.nsf/artistnames/maroon%205) singer ADAM LEVINE (http://www.contactmusic.com/new/artist.nsf/artistnames/adam%20levine) has reportedly been enjoying a secret romance with tennis superstar MARIA SHARAPOVA for months - despite the busy blonde's apparent reluctance to date.

The pair met at New York nightspot Hiro, when the SHE WILL BE LOVED star Levine serenaded the Wimbledon champion at her 18th birthday bash (APR05).

And although Sharapova has insisted she is too busy for love, she appears to be making time for the hunky 26-year-old.

A friend tells British newspaper The Sun, "Adam always has a lot of women after him. But he really likes Maria, and they have been seeing each other quietly for months."


I don't believe a word of it!:p

Alenyaa
Aug 18th, 2005, 02:52 PM
Uhuh, and I will be the next Pope. :rolleyes:

Maria Croft
Aug 18th, 2005, 03:19 PM
like the Andy and Maria thingy...


Poor pathetic tabloids...


Indeed, it's just the same

Andy Mac
Aug 18th, 2005, 06:16 PM
even tho i dont beleive any of these...still makes me sad

Dan23
Aug 19th, 2005, 12:07 AM
I wouldnt be surprised if it true...

..but a 26 y/o :scratch:

goldenlox
Aug 20th, 2005, 08:04 PM
Fast Talk: Maria Sharapova


http://www.travelandleisure.com/images/sys/fasttalk_sharapova_200.jpg After a stellar season that took her to third place in the world rankings, 18-year-old Russian-born tennis player Maria Sharapova is advancing her game. As she gears up for the French Open in Paris next month and prepares to defend her title at Wimbledon in June, she talks with Travel + Leisure about the tournaments she loves, life off the court, and how to stay healthy on the road.

by Clara Ogden

1. How often do you travel?
My house is in Florida, but because of my heavy tournament schedule, I feel like I'm never there. I travel almost every week. I call it my life on tour.

2. Who goes with you on all your trips?
If I'm on the circuit, I travel with my dad, trainer, and a practice hitter. On vacation I bring my mom and friends.

3. Do you have a favorite tennis tournament?
I would have to say Wimbledon. Its village-like atmosphere is so cozy, and we get to stay in small cottages since there are no hotels close to the courts.

4. Any hotels you would recommend on the circuit?
The Crown in Melbourne is amazing—it's modern but it's also incredibly comfortable. I always stay there during the Australian Open. The hotel has so many shops and restaurants that you hardly need to leave.

5. You took time off recently to regroup before the new tennis season. Why did you choose the island of Nevis?
I'd heard that the Four Seasons there was beautiful and private, which was just what I needed after a year in the spotlight. I felt as if I were in a jungle, and the food was delicious. I spent most days in the sun, gazing at the water, and relaxing at the spa. I highly recommend the mango hot-stone massage.

6. Where do you think you might go on your next vacation?
I'd love to go to Corsica. But any island with crystal clear water will do.

7. What's always in your carry-on?
My laptop goes with me everywhere—we are in the 21st century, after all. And I bring Kiehl's lip balm, Fresh moisturizer, my pink iPod mini, and a good book. I've just started reading Teri Agins's End of Fashion.

8. Where do you spend your time when you're not on the court?
My biggest weakness is shopping. I love shoes. Whether I'm in New York, Paris, Miami, London, or Milan, my favorites are Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, and Miu Miu. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton are at the top of my list when it comes to clothes.

9. Do you have any favorite restaurants?
Definitely Nobu in New York, and this little French restaurant called Crème de la Crêpe in Hermosa Beach, California.

10. How do you keep healthy on the road?
I try to eat well and make sure to go for a walk or a jog whenever I arrive in a tournament city, just to get used to the air. It's so much nicer to work out in the fresh air. If I didn't play tennis for a living, I'd never set foot in a gym.

goldenlox
Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:33 PM
Single-minded Sharapova takes fast track to the top
Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:35 AM BSThttp://today.reuters.co.uk/images/spacer.gif

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By Ossian Shine

LONDON (Reuters) - There is something disarming about Maria Sharapova. Something at odds with her ready smile and glamorous attire. And that something on Monday lifted her to world number one.

Poised beyond her years, the Siberian-born teenager took just four years as a professional to become ranked the world's best tennis player.

However, that rapid ascent in a fiercely-competitive world in fact began nine years ago with a level of sacrifice few children would be prepared to endure.

Sharapova had not yet celebrated her 10th birthday when she was packed off to train in the United States.

That trip to Florida with her father Yuri launched her on the path to success and stardom, but it also required a heart-wrenching two-year separation from her mother Yelena who stayed in Siberia because of visa restrictions.

From that young age Sharapova learnt that tennis excellence would only come at a price.

"I was so lonely," she recalls. "I missed my mother terribly. My father was working as much as he could, so he couldn't see me.

"Because I was so young, I used to go to bed at 8 p.m., and they (other tennis pupils) would come in at 11 p.m. and wake me up and tell me to tidy up the room and clean it.

"But it toughened me up, and I learnt how to take care of myself. I never thought about quitting because I knew what I wanted. When you come from nothing and you have nothing, then it makes you very hungry and determined. I would have put up with much more than that to make it."

TOUCHED HEARTS

That toughness runs through the teenager today and was central to her winning Wimbledon last year and to becoming world number one on Monday.

While her journey from the frozen plains of Siberia to the summit of tennis has touched the hearts of tennis fans, for Sharapova there appears no room for sentiment.

The straight looks and answers she gives when asked of her ambitions leaves no doubt there is any question in her mind the sacrifice was worth it.

"I am very, very competitive," is her mantra. "I work hard at what I do. It is my job."

A marketing man's dream, the blonde, six-foot (1.83m) tall Sharapova is a blend of cultures and contradictions.

While she talks baseball-cap American, she proudly parades her Russian nationality.

"I'm Russian. The U.S. is a big part of my life. But I have Russian citizenship. My blood is totally Russian. I will play the Olympics for Russia if they want me," she says as if any doubt lingers.

Like any number of 18-year-olds she lists fashion, singing and dancing as her hobbies yet devours the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Her penchant for sophisticated evening gowns and glamorous nightlife would appear at odds with her love of pancakes with chocolate spread and fizzy orange drinks.

Sharapova can not be pigeon-holed or easily categorised. She is a one-off whose talent, unwavering desire and readiness to sacrifice has lifted her to the top of the world.

Few would deny her the riches she is now reaping. But if her rewards are monetary, her motivation has always been more Corinthian.

"Of course, money is a motivation. Tennis is a business and a sport, but the most important thing is to become number one in the world. That's the dream that kept me going."

goldenlox
Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:12 PM
Sharapova's No. 1

http://www.bradenton.com/images/common/spacer.gif
MIKE HENRY
http://www.bradenton.com/images/common/spacer.gif
Herald Staff Writer
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Maria Sharapova received seven bouquets of flowers and numerous congratulatory telephone calls and text messages upon reaching the No. 1 spot Monday in the Women's Tennis Association rankings.

But the 18-year-old Bradenton resident's sweetest recognition came from her father, Yuri.

"My dad was my wake-up call and he said, 'Good morning, champion,' " Sharapova said during a conference call from New York, where she is beginning preparations for next week's U.S. Open. "He is really happy. My mom called later, and she is really happy."

As for Maria, well, she sounded as if she still is trying to figure how it all happened so soon. Her victory last summer at Wimbledon brought her instant fame and endorsements galore, and she has added six victories in the past 12 months - a total matched only by Kim Clijsters. Her haul includes the 2004 season-ending WTA Tour Championships.

By moving ahead of former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, Sharapova becomes the first Russian and fifth youngest player to reach the pinnacle. Davenport held No. 1 for 44 consecutive weeks.

"Just the fact you are No. 1 puts a smile on your face," Sharapova said. "It's something I've dreamed of all my life. I'm so excited I could achieve it. This has been an amazing day for me.

"I don't think anyone expected me to win Wimbledon at 17, and no one expected me to be No. 1 by 18. Now that I know I have achieved it, I know for a fact I never have to prove anything to anyone."

But Sharapova has much to prove to herself, and the U.S. Open would be a great place to start.

"There are so many things I want to get better at, and hopefully that will help me maintain the No. 1 ranking," she said.

The news of her ascension was greeted enthusiastically at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, where Sharapova, at the tender age of 9, received a scholarship to train and use the facilities on the IMG Academies campus.

At 14, she began training primarily in California with Robert Lansdorp - credited with also developing Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Anastasia Myskina - but she and her parents call Bradenton home. Sharapova purchased a new, four-bedroom, 4½-bathroom home in May on the Manatee County end of Longboat Key for $2.69 million.

"Congratulations to Maria from myself and the academy," said Bollettieri, who leaves Thursday for the U.S. Open. "Now that she is No. 1, I am sure Yuri and she are thinking how does she stay No. 1, how does she stay healthy and how does she attack the U.S. Open."

As long as Sharapova stays focused on tennis, Bollettieri expects her to keep getting better. That is a scary thought for the rest of the WTA Tour.

"She competes well, never gives anything away and plays an offensive style. She has improved her serve and is always attacking," Bollettieri said. The No. 1 ranking "shouldn't be an albatross because she knows what she can do and what she can't do."

Sharapova is the ninth No. 1 to hone their skills at the NBTA. The others are Monica Seles, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Martina Hingis, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Boris Becker and Marcelo Rios.

WTA Tour executive Larry Scott presented Sharapova with a world No. 1 Waterford crystal trophy.

"Maria's fantastic play, commercial success and ability to serve as a great role model is helping to propel women's tennis to new heights in popularity," Scott said in a statement.

The WTA rankings reflect a player's performance in tournament play as well as her record against other players. It is a 52-week, cumulative system in which tournament results comprising a player's ranking is capped at 17 for singles and 11 for doubles.

Sharapova's 2005 singles titles include the Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo, the Qatar Total Open and the DFS Classic in England. She reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon and the quarterfinals of the French Open, losing to the eventual champion in each event.

Sharapova could have reached No. 1 earlier, but withdrew from the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles with an injury to her right pectoral muscle after reaching the quarterfinals. She also missed the Rogers Cup in Toronto but resumed practicing last week.

She said her injury and back problems earlier in the year may have resulted in part from a growth spurt that has seen her height increase from 6-feet to 6-feet-1½ inches.

"The injury gave me some good time to work on my strength and physical form," Sharapova said. "I'm still doing physical therapy and strengthening, and it feels good."

At last year's U.S. Open, Sharapova reached the third round. She sounded comfortable entering next week's action as a target for upset-minded opponents.

"I think my mind-set will be pretty much the same - to take every match as a tough one," she said. "It's not like I'm coming off four tournaments, so I'm going to be mentally fresh."

And hungry to show her new ranking is justified.

Dan23
Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:35 PM
Thanks GL...that last one is the best article ive read so far about Maria becoming #1

goldenlox
Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:05 PM
It's Lovely at Top for Sharapova

LISA DILLMAN
From Siberia to the summit.

A pitch fit for a movie executive with a short attention span? Or the real-life story of Maria Sharapova?

Both.

The inevitability of Sharapova's arrival at the top of women's tennis should not take away from what has been a remarkable journey: A girl arriving at a tennis academy in Florida armed with not much more than a dream. A daughter and father going it alone, young Maria forced to leave her mother back home in Russia.

Of course, by the time Hollywood works it all out, Maria and her father will be portrayed leaving Siberia in the middle of a blinding snowstorm on a sleigh.

Cut to 18-year-old Sharapova receiving a congratulatory phone call from her father Yuri, who says, "Good morning, champion."

Well, the latter did happen Monday to the 2004 Wimbledon champion. That's when the worst-kept secret in tennis became official: Sharapova supplanted Lindsay Davenport at No. 1 on the WTA Tour, becoming the 15th player to hold the top position, as well as the fifth-youngest and first Russian female.

"It's just an amazing fact to be No. 1 in the world," she said on a conference call Monday afternoon. "Topping it off, I am the first Russian. I'm just so excited I could achieve it. … It's just an amazing day for me."

This was a lot like what she said during the JPMorgan Chase Open in Carson earlier this month. Her news conference that day at the Home Depot Center was one part injury withdrawal, one part announcement of her soon-to-be-No. 1 status.

She will probably be seeded No. 1 at the U.S. Open, which starts Monday. There could be as many as six former No. 1s in the field: Davenport; Venus and Serena Williams; the two Belgians, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, and Amelie Mauresmo of France.

There are four Russian women in the top 10, eight in the top 20. Russians won three of the four Grand Slams in 2004, but Sharapova and the others will be trying to avert a Russian female Slam shutout this year.

She is not the first Russian tennis player to reach the top spot. Two men have been No. 1: Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a friend of Sharapova's family, and Marat Safin. Anastasia Myskina was the first Russian female to win a Grand Slam singles title, beating Sharapova by just a few weeks when she won the French Open last year.

Myskina nearly reached another milestone — first to No. 1 — before Sharapova, getting to No. 2 in September 2004. But they are heading in opposite directions now. Sharapova started the year at No. 4, made two Grand Slam semifinals and has threatened Davenport's reign since the clay-court season. Myskina has been slowed by injuries and the serious illness of her mother, and has dropped out of the top 10.

One man has coached both Russian women — Robert Lansdorp. A legendary coach and a true character, Lansdorp used to train Myskina and also worked with Davenport when she was a child. And he continues to assist Sharapova when she is in Southern California. Previously, he worked with Tracy Austin and Pete Sampras, two other former No. 1s.

Lansdorp noted his legacy, leaving an impassioned phone message for a reporter last week, before Sharapova officially became No. 1.

"It'll be my fourth No. 1 in the world. Nobody has ever even come close to doing that. It's impossible. I'm not going to live long enough to see five," he said, laughing.

He is already getting after Sharapova to stay No. 1, and not be content with merely renting the position.

"She knew it was coming — just a matter of time," he said later in a telephone interview. "It's almost like a milestone: you play, you win a Slam and you are No. 1. To me the milestone is, not that you become No. 1 … how long can you stay No. 1.

"Pete was unbelievable. He was able to stay No. 1 so long. And he had tough players to play. That's what is important. Now you're No. 1 and you better stay No. 1 and stay there for at least a year or two. Not for a couple months."

Still, Lansdorp isn't sure Sharapova can have the longevity of some of her predecessors at No. 1, such as [b]Chris Evert, Monica Seles and Steffi Graf. Sharapova simply has more options at her disposal.

"I remember telling Maria when she had to work so hard on the court, she was just moping a little bit," Lansdorp said. " 'What is the matter with you, Maria? Why don't you just become a model? All you have to do is walk up and down this runway. You don't even have to smile. No model ever smiles. They all look like they're [angry]. And you can make millions. You don't have to run down 20, 30 balls at the baseline.' "

But modeling was not the topic Monday. It was a day for celebration. Sharapova said she received seven bouquets and numerous text messages from friends, and she laughed frequently on the conference call.

"I just know for a fact that I never have to prove anything to anyone," she said. "Because I don't think anyone expected me to win Wimbledon at 17 and no one expected me to be No. 1 at 18."

goldenlox
Aug 24th, 2005, 06:39 PM
How She Got to No. 1
Maria Sharapova, 18, uses a big serve and a killer instinct to prove that she's not just another pretty face
By SEAN GREGORY
Aug. 22, 2005
Maria Sharapova fibs. "I'm just a normal girl," she giggles. Sharapova, 18, the blond, leggy, Russia-born, Florida-raised tennis pinup is the No. 1--ranked player in the world heading into next week's U.S. Open. Sure, like a normal girl, Sharapova is a bit of a mall rat. But a normal girl doesn't morph into the highest-paid female athlete on the planet in one year. She doesn't have a corporate sponsor like Motorola throw her 18th-birthday party at a swank Manhattan nightclub, pack it with 500 people and hire Maroon 5 to rock out. And a normal girl certainly doesn't walk the tightrope between sports and sex, sparking a mini-furor at a Toronto tourney because her two stadium banners were a tad too revealing.
Here's some truth: since her surprise win at Wimbledon 14 months ago, Sharapova has aced the pundits who thought she would be a one-stroke wonder, mixing a rare brand of off-court glam and on-court grit to earn the world's top spot. Remember, we have heard a story like this before. A beautiful Russian prodigy, reared at a Florida tennis factory, splashes onto the scene--and claims more magazine covers than she does trophies. But while Anna Kournikova treated tennis as if it were a pushy paparazzo, the game is Sharapova's Prince Charming.
Sharapova leads one of the deepest U.S. Open fields in the history of women's tennis. The slam sisters, Serena and Venus Williams, will be formidable, as will new No. 2 Lindsay Davenport. Behind them lurks a horde of Sharapova's fellow Russians, including defending U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva; Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne; and France's Amélie Mauresmo. Any one of them could win the Open. The men's game, on the other hand, has been dominated by the silent Swiss Roger Federer. The only mystery concerns who will be Federer's stompee in the final.
To get to the top spot, Sharapova steadily piled up points this summer while Davenport nursed injuries. Sharapova is consistent, having won six tournaments since her triumph at Wimbledon, and she reached the quarters and two semifinals in this year's three Grand Slam events. But her quick rise--from No. 324 to No. 1 in three years--has surprised everyone, even the typically self-assured Sharapova. "It's actually shocking," she tells TIME. "Before I was trying to lay off the whole thing, saying, 'I'm not worried about it, it's not important.' But you know, once you get there, it's, like, wow!"
Just as important, she learned to say no. After winning Wimbledon, she rejected offers to present at award shows and pose for laddie magazines. She turned down dozens of endorsement contracts. She did ink nine deals with the likes of Motorola, Nike, Colgate-Palmolive and Canon that with her court winnings amount to more than $20 million in annual income. But her agent, Max Eisenbud, and a 25-person "Team Sharapova" at sports-rep firm IMG gave the corporate sponsors just three weeks this year with her.

The rest is all tennis. Sharapova has a wicked serve (up to 115 m.p.h.), unusual in the women's game, to go along with a lethal two-handed backhand. She has even sprouted two more inches--she's now 6 ft. 2 in.--which lets her cover more ground with those endless legs. "I wouldn't say I'm in love with them," Sharapova says of the extra inches, adding her signature giggle burst. "Because if I wear heels, I'm like 6 ft. 4 in. It's a little too tall." Even when she was a kid, tennis gurus noticed another extra: her unsurpassed competitive intensity. "Her desire set her apart from the pack," says former top pro Pam Shriver. Now, "she has an aura that floats around, and that's intimidating."
Sharapova's backstory reads like a tall tale. When she was 2 years old, her parents fled their Siberian town, Nyagan, to escape the nuclear residue of Chernobyl. They settled in Sochi, on the Black Sea. At 6, Sharapova was playing at a Moscow tennis clinic when Martina Navratilova spotted her. The legend told her father Yuri that Sharapova should train at Nick Bollettieri's famed tennis academy in Bradenton, Fla., which ripened stars like Monica Seles and Andre Agassi. With $700 in his pocket, Yuri took Maria to Bollettieri's doorstep. "In the beginning it was tough to tell anything about how good she was," says Bollettieri. "She was so skinny that if she turned sideways there was nothing there."
The older girls in the dorms picked on the slight, peculiar 9-year-old, who struggled with English. "I had only myself as company," says Sharapova. "It just made me tougher." That, and insisting on playing against the boys. On the court, she had Yuri, her coach to this day. Her father still barks during matches--"he crosses the line a little sometimes," admits Robert Lansdorp, her stroke coach. And Maria is not afraid to bark back, leading to speculation of a strained relationship. But Sharapova insists we won't see the father-daughter burnout that has plagued so many young women in tennis. "If we get into a fight, it's over in, like, 10 minutes," says Sharapova. "We laugh."
Sharapova's success doesn't have everyone smiling. Sponsors pay a steeper premium for beauty in women's sports--critics call that sexist. Navratilova isn't one of them: "Maria is not taking money out of anyone's pocket. It's not her fault. To me, if you got it, flaunt it."
The issue has also fueled tension between Sharapova and the other Russian tennis phenoms (eight Russians are in the top 20), a few of whom have also won Grand Slams but not enjoyed a Sharapova-like windfall. Some even question her Red blood, given her Florida upbringing. "Her father speaks half-English, half-Russian to her," says Nadia Petrova, ranked ninth in the world. "I was kind of shocked by that because if you're born in Russia, why is he speaking English to her?"
Fellow pros also question how long Sharapova can stay No. 1. "There are a lot of players with a better game," says Serena Williams, who beat Sharapova at the Australian Open in January but lost to her in the '04 Wimbledon and Tour Championships finals. Says Sharapova: "There's always going to be people talking. Words are words, then you actually got to go out and do it."

Sharapova's career plan is to make her mark and move on, knowing how the game tends to grind up its teen sensations. Any chance of shooting for titles past age 30, creating a legacy like Navratilova and Chris Evert? "No," says Sharapova. "I'll tell you that, no." That would still leave the next decade, one that could prove difficult for her opponents. She's sharpening her forehand with Lansdorp. And that killer instinct? "She wants to beat you love and love [6-0, 6-0]," says Bollettieri. "There is no mercy on the court and no mercy for anyone when she's playing." In view of Sharapova's wins so far, that's no fib.

goldenlox
Aug 26th, 2005, 03:23 PM
In Which We Avoid Puns on the Word 'Match'



By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
Published: August 26, 2005

We were speaking with MARIA SHARAPOVA on Wednesday night at a party at the ANGEL ORENSANZ Foundation center, a former synagogue on the Lower East Side. The party was celebrating Ms. Sharapova's oddly named perfume, Maria Sharapova, which, we were told, includes Wimbledon grass as an ingredient. Gardenias and magnolias were lined up in rows, rose petals were scattered along the carpet, and the scent of perfume saturated the air.

"No," Ms. Sharapova said, when we asked about the rumor that she was romancing ANDY RODDICK, who also denied it when he showed up later. "But I usually don't talk about my personal life."

We are not that easily cowed. And that scent, those flowers, are so conducive to matters of the heart. CHAVA, HODEL, TZEITEL, take it away! Boldfacer, boldfacer, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch . . . .

Tatelehs, here is what we know:

Age: 18.

Height: Very, very tall. Like, 6-foot-2 or something. And wearing heels.

Profession: Tennis player.

Hobbies: "I like running on the beach and eating healthy." And? "Movies and shopping, dancing and singing."

What she's looking for in a man: "The guy I would be interested in would not have to play tennis or even like my perfume. But he would have to understand my business, my schedule and what my life is like. And of course with all that he would have to have a good sense of humor. Age does not make a difference."

Across the crowded room was the Mexican singer ARI BOROVOY, 26, who is about four inches shorter than Ms. Sharapova, and, by his own admission, not very good at tennis. His hair was unruly, his chin unshaven and his black shirt unbuttoned. We heard from another journalist at the party that Mr. Borovoy had a soft spot for Ms. Sharapova.

"Her people called me," Mr. Borovoy corrected us in his thick accent. "She asked for me. I think she saw me perform in Mexico."

Are you interested in asking Ms. Sharapova out?

"Why not? Maybe we can play some games." He said he might even ask her for a date that night. He also said he liked the smell of her perfume: "Very nice. I hope she's wearing it tonight."

Back to Ms. Sharapova. A little conversation (this is a subtle art). Then: Mr. Borovoy said he would like to ask you out.

"Really?" she said, blushing.

Any response?

"I have no response to that now," she said with a laugh.

Let us know, you two!

Maria Croft
Aug 29th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Don't know if this was posted already

An interview with:


MARIA SHARAPOVA

THE MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. If we can please start with questions for Maria.

Q. No. 1, do you remember what Richard III said about wearing the crown?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not quite (laughing).

Q. I'll let you research that one. Now you're wearing a big No. 1 (inaudible).
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don't really think aiming wise, there's a big difference between No. 1 and 2. I think No. 1 is just an amazing achievement for myself. You know, it's something that I've worked my butt off over the last years and something that I've wanted to achieve ever since I started playing tennis.
So, you know, not many people can say that they're No. 1 in the world, so obviously it is an amazing feeling.

Q. Does it feel strange to be No. 1 this past week and now Lindsay is going back to No. 1 on Monday?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. You know, if I can have it for an hour, for a week, you know, just the fact that you're No. 1 is an amazing feeling.

Q. So give an update on the pectoral injury, how you're playing right now. You've had so few matches.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's doing better. I feel a lot better. I've been strengthening for the last two weeks, seeing the physio twice a day. I was in LA for the whole week the Toronto tournament was on.
I started playing mid week of that week and I've been playing well. I've been practicing quite well. But, you know, I don't expect myself to go out there and play my best tennis from the first round because obviously I haven't had that much match play. But, you know, physically I feel stronger. So, you know, we'll see.

Q. Are you hitting your serves and forehands the way you want to or are they less than what you want them to be?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: They've been getting bigger and bigger, yeah.

Q. A lot of people are interested in the women's field this year in particular; they think it's more open. Do you feel that way? Is it good for women's tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it more open?

Q. Yes. That seems to be the prevailing opinion. Do you feel that way yourself? Do you think it helps women's tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think most of the top players are playing, aren't they? So that makes it even tougher but that's what it's all about, that's why we're here, you know, for the competition. That's why I'm here. I love it when it gets tough.
Fourth round, quarterfinal, you're playing against a tough opponent. You know, the winner of the whole thing has to beat a lot of top players and if you're not willing to do that, then there's no reason to be here.

Q. What is it about this Grand Slam that kind of separates it from the other three for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think everyone is just hyper and everyone is excited about the tennis. We're in a really crazy atmosphere here. The fans are so different compared to anywhere else in the world.
But, you know, that's the cool thing about tennis, is we travel around the world and we get to play in different atmospheres and feel the different vibe.

Q. Do you come into this year's tournament here with a different attitude than last year? Last year you were coming off the high of Wimbledon. Maybe you changed things, improved things over the past year. Do you have a different attitude as opposed to a year ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think last year I won the last Grand Slam, I don't think I expected too much of myself from then. And, I don't know, a whole year of experience. It took me a few months to settle down after Wimbledon, so, you know, I haven't really shown New York how I can play, you know. I'm extra excited.

Q. Have you ever sat back and realized how quickly you've achieved this incredible goal you set for yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, way sooner than I thought it would be, definitely. Yeah, you look back few years, two, three years, you know where I was, and just this is amazing, yeah. It's unbelievable.

Q. Is it true you're 6'2'' now, or are you still growing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I try to say I'm 6'1" and a half (laughing).

Q. You've had such an incredible run with Wimbledon, the championships, now becoming No. 1. As you've got more and more successful, were there ever any times in your career when you've had doubts, and, if so, how did you deal with that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There are always times when things are not, you know, either working well, either on the court or off the court. Yeah, there are many days. It's not even about being a tennis player, it's day to day things, you know. You might feel like nothing's going your way, but, you know, somehow you just you have to get through them and just stay positive.
And, you know, now, whenever something's not working, I just think back about what I've achieved and, I don't know, there are a lot of those days.

Q. Is part of it the willingness to go back to the practice court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just looking, looking towards the positive, always thinking of ways to make it better if it's not right, always try to find a way to make it better.

Q. It took you a couple months to come down from Wimbledon. Do you have any fears there's going to be that same feeling coming down from No. 1? What did you learn from last year that can help you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think it's a little bit different situation. I think I won Wimbledon kind of, you know, I wouldn't say out of nowhere, but it kind of felt like that at that time, you know. I was the 13th seed. You know, it was very surprising. I, you know, didn't even know if I would make it to the semis.
But I think with No. 1 and 2, I mean, No. 2 is already an amazing achievement, but I think just to be No. 1 in the world, it's more for myself and just to know you've achieved it, you know.
I think it was a little bit different last time.

Q. You've had a big week in New York with the perfume and tennis dress and watch. How do you keep all that stuff in perspective and keep tennis the top priority? How do you balance all that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I came here a week early to get used to the conditions and set time aside for my corporate appearances. That's, you know, I love doing that once in a while, very fun. I got to launch my perfume the other day and my new watch that I designed. So, you know, it's fun. It's like the finished product. That's the day when you're like, "Okay, everything's put together now."
But it's very important to have a balance. I mean, I was on the "Today Show" at 9 a.m., then at 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was back on the practice court working for three hours and, you know, running on the treadmill and sweating my sweating like crazy. I'm thinking, "Jesus, three hours ago I was on the 'Today Show' with make up and I looked amazing and now I look like crap."

Q. How do you feel about being in the gossip columns, specifically regarding speculation that you're dating certain rock stars and certain tennis stars?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: How do I feel? Yeah, it's flattering, I guess, but, you know, I don't I'm not the kind of person that says, "Okay, I want to be on this page." You know, my intentions are to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing, do my appearances, not to be in a paper but if I am and if I end up at that place, then I'm very flattered.

Q. This perfume that you are endorsing, were you offered like alternative scents to approve or did they come up with one scent and say, "That's what it's going to be"?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I had to no, I mean, it starts from basically it's, like, my whole creation. I come up with the ingredients and the smell and everything. So it's not like they just gave me one and told me that I'm going to endorse it, no way.
Yeah, it was a very long process. It took nine months to actually put everything together.

Q. Nine months?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.

Q. Speaking of putting things together, your hard court game, what has to go right for you, what do you have to do specifically on this surface to be able to achieve what you want to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I don't know, just play my game. You know, it's hard, it's really hard to say. Just things that I'm going to change, it's not like I'm going to change my game dramatically going from one surface to another. I think the courts are playing a little quicker this year than they were last year, and also compared to Home Depot they're a lot faster. So that goes to my advantage as well.
But it's always important to be on your serve and for it all to go well. You know, that's important if you can get a few free points.

Q. Does it make a difference to your players, yourself, to see the ball when it's day or night because of the color of the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The blue, the color?

Q. Does it help you see it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think I could play if it's black or red (laughing).

Q. The fact that you are No. 1 now, does it put any additional weight on your shoulders? Do you feel like now you have to win, especially with the other Russians.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, I don't think it really puts extra pressure on myself because, I mean, just going from No. 2 to 1. But just the amazing achievement of being No. 1, I don't think it adds any extra pressure, it has nothing to do with that. It's just the fact that you're No. 1.

clementine
Aug 29th, 2005, 08:27 PM
Sharapova 'not courting tabloids' in New York
Tuesday August 30 2005 0

NEW YORK: Tennis glamour girl Maria Sharapova says she has no intention of ruling the New York gossip pages during the US Open.

The Russian top seed did, however, make sure to get all of her corporate and sponsor appearances done and dusted during the week prior to the start of the Grand Slam, launching a Tag-Heuer watch with her name on it as well as a personal perfume line.

The upscale scent scenario seemed to make the biggest impression on the fashion-wise 18-year-old former Wimbledon winner.

Sharapova said: "It is basically my whole creation. I come up with the ingredients and the smell and everything. So it's not like they just gave me one and told me that I'm going to endorse it, no way.

"It was a very long process, nine months to actually put everything together."

The Russian says that while she appreciates the public acclaim, she's not seeking it though her every move - including a much-denied possible romance with Andy Roddick - will be tabloid fodder in Gotham over the fortnight.

"It's flattering, but my intentions are not to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing, do my appearances, not to be in a paper but if I am and if I end up at that place, then I'm very flattered," she said.

- - -

Maria better get used to being the NYC ragmag's darling because she and Andy Roddick have already been eating up most of the sports & gossip pages lately. :D

Not all of them are good though: in today's NY Post (a gossipy rag) it has a lovely pull-out section of Maria's fashion faux pas with the screaming headline "Queen of Tennis is no Queen of Fashion." :rolleyes:

Still, any publicity is good publicity. When you ask the average joe six pack who doesn't watch tennis to name a famous female tennis player, he'll say Maria Sharapova. :p

goldenlox
Aug 30th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Sharapova's delicate balancing act

By Patrick Hruby
ESPN.com





NEW YORK -- Maria Sharapova needs more money and fame the way Sean Combs needs another self-appointed nickname. Which is to say, not so much.

As the highest-paid -- and arguably most popular -- female athlete in the world, Sharapova could walk away from tennis tomorrow, swap her racket for lip gloss and comfortably sashay into the used-to-be-somebody netherworld of exhibition matches and FHM cover shoots.

Of course, Sharapova has forever insisted she has no interest in emulating Anna Kournikova. As such, her 6-1, 6-1 U.S. Open first-round dismissal of Eleni Daniilidou at Ashe Stadium on Monday night was simply the latest tilt on an increasingly familiar seesaw.

On one side? Sharapova's sport. On the other? Everything else.



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Getty Images
Maria Sharapova was pumped in her first-round victory.




"It's very important to have a balance," said the top-seeded Sharapova last Saturday. "I mean, I was on the 'Today Show' at 9 a.m., then at 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was back on the practice court working for three hours and, you know, running on the treadmill and sweating my -- sweating like crazy.

"I'm thinking, 'Jesus, three hours ago I was on the "Today Show" with makeup and I looked amazing. Now I look like crap,'" she said.

For the fans and sponsors who have made the photogenic 18-year-old Russian the WTA's reigning It Girl, the last part is open to argument. Undebatable, however, is the extent to which Sharapova's life has changed since her unexpected Wimbledon triumph last year.

Once one of a half-dozen semi-anonymous Ovas -- toiling in the shadow of the Williams sisters and the Belgian duo of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne -- Sharapova is now the de facto face of women's tennis, recognized well beyond the grounds of the National Tennis Center.

Sharapova arrived in New York a week early and spent four consecutive mornings making corporate appearances -- afternoon practices followed. She enjoyed a Motorola-sponsored 18th birthday bash featuring Maroon 5, earned $20 million in endorsements last year and was on the cover of Forbes magazine in June. She even has an eponymous perfume scheduled to hit retailers next month.

The surest sign of Sharapova's newfound renown?

Speculation about her love life -- including a rumored relationship with ATP star Andy Roddick -- recently appeared in the Gotham tabloids.

"It's flattering, I guess," Sharapova said. "But I don't -- I'm not the kind of person that says, 'OK, I want to be on this page.' You know, my intentions are [not] to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing."

Sharapova's thing includes a daily conditioning run in Central Park -- so she claimed on Monday night -- with 50 Cent queued up on her iPod.

And against Daniilidou, the additional road work paid off. Recovering from a strained pectoral muscle that forced her to withdraw from a tournament in Carson, Calif, two weeks ago, Sharapova went from shaky to solid, dispatching a dangerous lurker who upset French Open champ Henin-Hardenne in the first round at Wimbledon.

Trailing 0-40 in her second service game, Sharapova hit a pair of aces and a swinging forehand volley to hold serve for a 3-0 first-set lead. Her lunging backhand pass in the next game left Danilidou applauding with her racket -- Sharapova celebrated with a fist pump -- and from there the match was a fait accompli.

"The first few games were a little tough," Sharapova said afterward. "Haven't played a lot of matches, so I'm just trying to get used to the conditions, the stadium, playing under the lights for the first time in a while. I really felt like I missed it. So it was a good feeling to be back on the court."

Whether Sharapova can keep her focus within the lines remains to be seen. In tennis, sudden stardom is nothing new. Nor are inevitable distractions, from Serena Williams' dalliances in acting and fashion design, or to what Andre Agassi once dubbed his "departures" from the sport.

Sharapova already has experienced the downside of heightened scrutiny. In June, a reporter for the London Daily Mail called her father, Yuri, a "greedy, domineering Tennis Father from Hell," claiming he demanded 10,000 pounds for an exclusive interview with Sharapova (and charitably, only 5,000 for a heartfelt one-on-one with dad).

Sharapova's father also was bashed publicly by No. 13 seed Anastasia Myskina, who last year said she would boycott Russia's Fed Cup team if Sharapova was put on the roster. Countrywoman and No. 5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova later echoed Myskina's comments, calling Sharapova "more American than Russian."

On Monday afternoon, Kuznetsova became the first defending women's Open champion to lose in the first round, falling 6-3, 6-2 to fellow Russian Ekaterina Bychkova. Afterward, Kuznetsova downplayed repored tensions among the WTA's Russian contingent.

"I think now it's got[ten] a little bit less," Kuznetsova said. "I feel it less. Last year it was much high for me, I know. It's really been pushing us up. Now, I think everybody's a bit tired."

If Sharapova was fatigued following her victory over Daniilidou, she didn't let it show. Still, her fitness is far from optimal: having grown an inch since March, she struggled with a sore back in the spring and played only two matches during the summer hard court season.

Skipping a mid-August tournament in Toronto, Sharapova spent a week in the Los Angeles area, working twice daily with a physical therapist to regain strength in her aching arm and chest.

Despite the layoff, she became the WTA Tour's top-ranked player on Aug. 22 -- a distinction that lasted all of one week as No. 2 seed Lindsay Davenport assumed the top spot on Monday.

The mental strain of being a marked player, Sharapova admits, has been nearly as trying as the physical strain placed on her still-growing body. During her run to last year's Wimbledon crown, Sharapova looked loose, hungry; in this year's Wimbledon semifinal loss to Venus Williams, her aggression was tempered by bouts of uncharacteristically tight play.

"It's not just a physical sport out there," she said.

"You know, I've gotten a little bit of everything in the last year, being a defending champion at Wimbledon. I thought I got through it pretty well. But it's hard to win when people expect you to win all the time.

"Right after I won Wimbledon, I thought I had to win every single match. It's just a matter of telling yourself that, you know, it's impossible to win everything no matter what people say. You can't control people's actions. You can't let anybody bother you."

If Sharapova is to balance tennis and everything else -- and take advantage of a decimated Open draw that won't have her facing a seeded player until the semifinals -- that much seems obvious. With one notable exception.

Just before Sharapova's match point against Daniilidou, a familiar male refrain rang out from the Ashe Stadium stands. We love you, Maria!

The feeling, Sharapova says, is mutual.

"It would be an amazing achievement [to win the Open]," Sharapova said. "I love coming back to New York. I love playing in front of these fans."

Money and fame? Covered. But a little bit of extra love? Even Sharapova can use that. Especially the tennis kind.

goldenlox
Aug 31st, 2005, 05:35 PM
Russia might be ready to endorse Sharapova

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By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com


NEW YORK -- It was no surprise that the U.S. Open crowd cheered on Maria Sharapova on Monday night.

But what was surprising is that many Russians also may have reveled in Sharapova's first-round victory over Elena Danilidou when they woke up Tuesday morning.



From Brooklyn to Beijing, Maria Sharapova doesn't lack fans these days. It's why companies including Canon, Motorola, Nike and Colgate-Palmolive have paid her millions of dollars to endorse their products worldwide.

But the acceptance of the 18-year-old as an icon is only a recent happening in her native land of Russia, where many in the general population seemed to resent her for her American upbringing, her full-time American residence and her unwillingness to play in the Kremlin Cup while she went hopping around to smaller tournaments in Europe and Asia.

"When she became No. 1 [last week], there was a tremendous amount of media coverage on her in Russia and most of it was overwhelmingly positive," said Alexei Tolkachev of Moscow's daily newspaper, Sport Express.

That's a big change from the tone of recent media coverage, even after Sharapova won last year's Wimbledon crown.

"She wasn't granting many interviews, but in Russia, there was resentment because they thought she wasn't interested in talking to the Russian media," Tolkachev said. "Once people started to understand that it wasn't about the country and that she wasn't doing many exclusive interviews, they realized that she wasn't trying to be standoffish and it wasn't as if she didn't care."

When she was 9 years old, Sharapova left Russia with her father without knowing a word of English and with almost no money to their names. They arrived, without invitation, at the famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Sharapova refined her talents there and turned pro on her 14th birthday.

"The perception was that she was trying to become more American because it was more marketable," Tolkachev said.

Although Tolkachev said Russian companies usually pay their sports stars "peanuts" compared to the endorsement deals obtained from multinational brands, the journalist said that "as a Russian, she can be appealing in countries that don't necessarily embrace American supremacy."

Although Sharapova lives in Florida and has all American friends, her agent Max Eisenbud said there has never been any attempt to "make her American."

"She's Russian because that's who she is," Eisenbud said. "Every time her name appears in the papers or on a draw sheet, there's an 'RUS' next to her name. That will never change."

Eisenbud said that he has been talking with companies based in Russia and his client would love to do a deal that would include a charity component so Sharapova could give back to her homeland.

Russia's embracing of Sharapova isn't all due to her becoming the first Russian woman to attain the world's No. 1 ranking. It also seems like she's trying harder than ever before to make Russia a priority. In May, she finally committed to playing in the Kremlin Cup, the first event she'll play in Russia.

When Sharapova steps on the court for the event that will take place in October, she at least says she cares about how she will be received.



"I've always been thinking about how they think of me in Russia," Sharapova said. "But I don't know what to expect. Hopefully, it's positive."

Maria Croft
Aug 31st, 2005, 09:19 PM
Maria playing the kremlin cup this year will be something very special

goldenlox
Sep 1st, 2005, 02:53 PM
M. SHARAPOVA/D. Randriantefy

6‑1, 6‑0

An interview with:

MARIA SHARAPOVA

THE MODERATOR: First question for Maria, please.

Q. You do a lot of endorsement deals. Last night with Roddick's defeats, embarrassing for numerous advertisers you see around here. Is there ever a worry for you that perhaps the endorsement deals take away from your tennis time or could come back to embarrass?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I think when you do an endorsement deal, I think you and whoever you're going to endorse have to, you know, be in contact, have to communicate with what your schedule is like. They have to understand the sport you're in and know you're not always going to be a winner. There are going to be times when, you know, you're going to have setbacks. But that's the point of having a good relationship, is when you know they'll be behind you if you're losing or if you're down, if you have those times when things are not going that well.

Q. You've only lost three games so far. Talk about the way you handle pressure, how you handle expectations.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I kind of don't. I really don't handle them. I just don't think about it. I did those things at the beginning of the week. The last one was Wednesday night. You know, I had five, six days to prepare. I had my mind off of the things I did. But I understand that there are going to be times where, you know, especially before a Grand Slam, you need to set back some time and do these things for the sponsors. But I enjoy it. You know, like I said in my previous press conference, I think in the morning I was doing the Today Show, all being glamorous. Then I'm back on the court after three hours and I'm working hard. This is where I feel I really belong.

Q. Seemed so windy out there. Did it feel like you could get knocked over at times today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I really did. Like I said in the interview after the match, I said it's better I had a piece of cake yesterday or I would have been in that globe somewhere. I'm glad I gained a few pounds (laughter).

Q. You practice a lot down in Florida.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but it's never like this. This was pretty extreme.

Q. Was it tough trying to find the ball when you were serving?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, the first few games, you saw, I was serving 69 miles per hour. It's pretty funny. I think it's even funnier from TV because they can't even see the wind. These people probably think we look like beginners. That's the sad part.

Q. You said you've gained a few pounds, but you also still seem to be getting taller. Do you feel yourself getting taller?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I actually do. I feel like I've grown a little bit. But, you know, what can you do?

Q. Does it affect anything on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: On the court, no, not really. I think once you start growing, it's very important. Like I said, I had my back ‑‑ my background was because of the growing and my shoulder. You just have to make sure those parts of your body are strong, your joints are strong.

Q. Your parents aren't particularly tall. Do you have any idea where you get your height from?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have no idea. I've been asking. I haven't got a straight answer yet (smiling).

Q. No tall family relative?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not that they've told me. I don't know who to talk to.

Q. Are you ready to go to 6'2"?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I'm not going to admit it, even if I am.

Q. Are you trying to put on a little more weight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I was just joking.

Q. Do you feel you should put some more on to get more strength?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely not fat or cellulite. I'd prefer muscle, yeah.

Q. I met a lot of people that came here not to see really the game, but to see you. How do you feel about it? How do you feel about being like a superstar more than a tennis player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's very flattering. I don't necessarily think about it when I step on the court because the only thing I'm thinking about is my tennis. I hope that people come out and watch me for my tennis. But, you know, I can't control the reason why they come out. Not too much I can do about that. I'm a tennis player. With being a popular tennis player comes a lot of other things. That's part of it.

Q. On the subject of tennis, can you assess the way you feel you're playing right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think I'm hitting pretty well. I didn't have a lot of matches coming into this tournament. In the first round I felt really solid actually. Played better than I thought I would. But I know the matches are going to get tougher and tougher from here. You know, that's where you have to pick up your game.

Q. How did this get better, the pectoral muscle? How long did it take you? Were you pretty patient with it? Did it take longer than you expected?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It took about five days of no tennis. But, no, I'm not very patient going into the physical office every single day, twice a day. I was there for probably 10 days. By the end of that 10th day, I was just, "Get me out of here." But, yeah, it takes a lot of strengthening. I was, you know, in the office getting the machines on it and probably strengthening it for about two hours a day.

Q. Are you pretty confident with it now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. So far so good, yeah.

Q. Has it been hard for you and all the players this week, given the weather, to really work your way into the tournament the way you'd like to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There's no point in trying to think about that because you can't control the conditions. I don't think you will ever be able to control them. But just something that, you know, one day you're in windy conditions, the next day the conditions are normal. You just have to find your groove. It's pretty hard to find your rhythm when it's this windy.

Q. When you see somebody like Roddick go out early, it's a reminder that it can happen to anybody?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's tennis. It can happen to anybody. That's why we play the matches.

Q. Were you watching last night? Did you feel sorry for him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I saw a few games. I was getting a massage. Yeah, you know, like I said, it's tough. I mean, first round. The other guy played out of his mind, I thought. You know, you run into someone that good in the first round, it's tough. But this is life.

goldenlox
Sep 9th, 2005, 03:21 PM
Sharapova returns to spotlight



By HAROLD GUTMANN
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: September 9, 2005)


NEW YORK — Practice court No. 1 is the most mislabeled court at the National Tennis Center.

Far from being the biggest court, or the most prestigious practice area, P1 is actually at the northwest corner of the grounds, bordered on three sides by a tall fence and on the fourth side by four other courts.

It's the most inaccessible, private outdoor practice area, and it's where top-seeded Maria Sharapova chose to prepare yesterday.

Of course, spectators still found her, snaking up the elevated stands on Court 4 to grab a glimpse from overhead, or peeking through a fence and past the wheelchair tennis players on practice courts 2-5.

So instead of walking through the main entrance to the women's locker room inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Sharapova walked along an outer fence and then out of the main grounds, using a players-only passageway to get to her destination.

The Russian superstar chose not to be the center of attention yesterday, but she has no choice today. The top seed will face No. 4 Kim Clijsters at Ashe in her first-ever U.S. Open semifinal, preceded by No. 6 Elena Dementieva and No. 12 Mary Pierce.

Sharapova is looking to make a Grand Slam final for the first time since her captivating run through Wimbledon last year. She cruised through her first four matches here, but had to fight through a gritty and tense three-set quarterfinal against Nadia Petrova.

"I always prefer two-set matches, but I think this was a good challenge for me," Sharapova said. "It gives me a lot of confidence that I can pull out a win like that when there are points of a match when you don't feel great."

goldenlox
Sep 20th, 2005, 02:19 PM
BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- World number one female player Maria Sharapova said Tuesday that she's in excellent fitness before playing her first match in this year's China Open.

"I feel really good. I played an invitational touranment in South Korea with Venus (Williams), so I did a little practice today to be ready for my first match (at China Open)," the Russian icon told a press conference at the hardcourt tournament of WTA Tour. Talking about her aims for the 585,000 US dollars event, Sharapova, whose position on the WTA Entry Ranking board rose again to the top after Lindsay Davenport suffered early exit in theU.S. Open days ago, ruled out an in-purpose defense to her top ranking.

"I don't really think about that when I'm going into a tournament," said the 18-year-old. "My main goal is to perform well and try to win it and not just focus on the ranking and I don't really care. The competition still has top players right now, and I don't think of keeping number one during games."


"I always say that my most successful year is last year, no matter how much more success having been made in my career, becauseI won my first grand slam title at the age of 17-year-old that I could not have imagined and also because it (Wimbledon) is my favorite championship and I just cherish it very much, so to be No.1 at 18-year-old is just to be consistent," added Sharapova, who becomes the world number one without a singles title at Grand Slams this year.

As Davenport has withdrawn from the China Open WTA tournament, Sharapova, the top seed here, is facing an easier draw en route to win the title in Beijing, where she was ousted in the semi-finals of the initial one 12 months ago. The Russian teenager, however, was still looking forward to a tough matchup here.

"I think that's why I play tennis, because of the challenge, because of the competition," said Sharapova. "That's why we love to play tiebreaker in the third set. It makes it more exciting, and the bigger support in the stand, and more fans involved in it. I really enjoyed the competition and took a lot of hard work to make myself No. 1 at 18 years old."

Regarding another Anna Kournikova to world tennis, Sharapova ruled out suspicions that she may not well-balance her activities on the court and off the court.

"I enjoy the things that I do off the court," she said. "It's very important to keep balance between on-court things and off-court things. But more important is to enjoy everything I do, and I think everything I do off the court enlarge my freedom to do something after I work so hard the whole year and I enjoy it. But most important is that I practice really hard to maintain my form." "My study is good I have three more courses to finish my high school study, and I'm picking economics and chemistry," she added.

Speaking of the upstart to world female tennis Sharapova, Venus said the Russian sensation should be respected not only for her achievement on the court but for her influence on tennis fans.
"She's obviously a great player, doing things on the court that amazing," said Venus. "She's motivating other people all over the world to do their best both on the court and off the court, so I think it will be really cool and I regard her."

Maria Croft
Sep 20th, 2005, 08:58 PM
That's a very nice article, thanks for posting that

goldenlox
Oct 3rd, 2005, 02:41 PM
Tennis: Sharapova Japan tour set for Dec.

(Kyodo) _ World No. 1 Maria Sharapova will make a Japan tour in late December for specially arranged tennis matches and other events including fashion shows, organizers of the tour said Monday.


Sharapova will begin the tour at Osakajo Hall on Dec. 21 and move to Nagoya Sports Complex the next day and Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo on Dec. 23. The tour's main attractions include matches featuring Sharapova and Japan's Ai Sugiyama, fashion shows and tennis clinics for children.

goldenlox
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:19 PM
http://www.mosnews.com/files/11155/sharapova.jpg


Image by MosNews.com

Maria Sharapova is Russian, Will Never Be American, Says Star’s Father

Created: 06.10.2005 12:59


MosNews

Maria Sharapova (http://www.mosnews.com/mn-files/sharapova.shtml#news) is Russian, and she will never become an American national, world number one’s father told the Sovetsky Sport newspaper in an interview Thursday. With his statement he denied rumors in the media that the blonde tennis star is going to become the national of the U.S. where she has lived for the past eleven years.

“The people who wrote these articles are just short of information. My daughter is Russian and she will never become an American,” Yuri Sharapov, Maria’s father, told the newspaper.

Sharapova was born in Siberia but moved to the U.S. at the age of seven. In spite of residing in Florida, she has always played for Russia. However the press keeps speculating on the subject of Maria’s citizenship, claiming that her perfect English, her easy manner and even her good looks are typically American.

Sharapova is at the moment in Moscow, first time since emigrating eleven years ago, preparing for next week’s Kremlin Cup. She, accompanied by her father, personal coach and producer, came to Moscow on personal plane Monday.

Maria is relaxed ahead of the game, looking forward to her first tournament in native country. She is not troubled by the possibility of losing her top rank to Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, who may snatch the title from her if she wins this week’s Fielderstadt tournament.

“Masha is absolutely calm about this,” Yuri told Sovetsky Sport.

Dan23
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:30 PM
Thanks GL :)
Good stuff Yuri :yeah:

Alenyaa
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:31 PM
Wonder how many haters are going to call her an ingrate after this...

Maria Croft
Oct 6th, 2005, 11:14 PM
http://www.mosnews.com/files/11155/sharapova.jpg


Image by MosNews.com

Maria Sharapova is Russian, Will Never Be American, Says Star’s Father

Created: 06.10.2005 12:59


MosNews

Maria Sharapova (http://www.mosnews.com/mn-files/sharapova.shtml#news) is Russian, and she will never become an American national, world number one’s father told the Sovetsky Sport newspaper in an interview Thursday. With his statement he denied rumors in the media that the blonde tennis star is going to become the national of the U.S. where she has lived for the past eleven years.

“The people who wrote these articles are just short of information. My daughter is Russian and she will never become an American,” Yuri Sharapov, Maria’s father, told the newspaper.

Sharapova was born in Siberia but moved to the U.S. at the age of seven. In spite of residing in Florida, she has always played for Russia. However the press keeps speculating on the subject of Maria’s citizenship, claiming that her perfect English, her easy manner and even her good looks are typically American.

Sharapova is at the moment in Moscow, first time since emigrating eleven years ago, preparing for next week’s Kremlin Cup. She, accompanied by her father, personal coach and producer, came to Moscow on personal plane Monday.

Maria is relaxed ahead of the game, looking forward to her first tournament in native country. She is not troubled by the possibility of losing her top rank to Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, who may snatch the title from her if she wins this week’s Fielderstadt tournament.

“Masha is absolutely calm about this,” Yuri told Sovetsky Sport.


Great article, we don't hear Yuri talk to often

Thanks for posting :)

KirilenkoRulz
Oct 11th, 2005, 12:38 PM
Excerpts from a Pravda interview with big Maria on October 11, 2005. Here is the url in case you wish to read the much longer interview.

http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/90/361/16286_Sharapova.html

Both Maria's are very open about their friendship. Big Maria also says that she is buying an apartment in Moscow (Maria Kirilenko's home town) and plan to visit more often.

Do you see yourself as a Russian or an American citizen? Is it in your plans to change citizenship? I consider myself a Russian, especially when I live abroad. I do not even think about changing my citizenship.

You will have to play some other Russian tennis players during the tournament. Do you have any preferences on whom would you like to play?
It makes no difference to me, whom to play. I can only say that it is hard to play them.

Which victory of yours do you see as the most important accomplishment that you made? It is Wimbledon, of course. I love fast court.

Do you have any friends in the world of tennis? Yes, it is Maria Kirilenko, first and foremost.

goldenlox
Oct 11th, 2005, 02:16 PM
World No.1 Sharapova finally commits to playing Fed Cup
Web posted at: 10/11/2005 3:59:28
Source ::: Reuters http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/images/October2005/2sharp.jpgWorld No.1 Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the “Russia’s Sportsperson of the Year” trophy during her press conference at Kremlin Cup in Moscow yesterday.



MOSCOW: World No.1 Maria Sharapova said yesterday she wanted to play for Russia in the Fed Cup at some point in the future.

The Florida-based 18-year-old has turned down invitations to play for the country of her birth in the past in order to concentrate on improving her singles ranking.

Addressing reporters before the opening of the Kremlin Cup, Sharapova said: “I want to play for Russia, I definitely want to play for Russia in Fed Cup competition.

“I just don’t know when I’ll be ready to make my Fed Cup debut.”

Russia have won the women’s team competition for the last two years without Sharapova’s help.

Last year she was involved in a public squabble with Anastasia Myskina, who led Russia to their 2004 Fed Cup win. Myskina has hinted that she might no longer play Fed Cup.

Asked how she felt when Russia clinched their second Fed Cup title by edging France 3-2 in last month’s final in Paris, Sharapova said: “I would just say to the girls ‘Well done’.

“I didn’t play (Fed Cup) this year because it would have been too tough for me but in the future, yes, it’s definitely one of my big goals.

“I also want to play in the Olympics and would love to represent Russia there as well,” she added.

Sharapova did not get a chance to play at last year’s Athens Olympics despite winning the Wimbledon title a month earlier because she was not ranked high enough at the time.

A maximum of four players from a single country are allowed to play in the Olympics and Sharapova was not among Russia’s top four when the selection was made.

Sharapova, who left Russia 11 years ago with her father to pursue her tennis career in the United States, arrived in Moscow last week and will make her Kremlin Cup debut on Wednesday.

“I definitely feel Russian inside, even when I’m in America I feel Russian,” she said. “But coming here for the first time in years it made me feel even more so.”

Sharapova faced a barrage of questions during her first news conference in the Russian capital, with reporters quizzing her on everything from boyfriends to what dress she would wear at her private parties.

But the teenager played her cards close to her chest.

One reporter asked Sharapova if she was dating any ice hockey players, alluding to another well-known US-based Russian, Anna Kournikova, who was married to Sergei Fedorov and also dated fellow NHL All-Star Pavel Bure.

“I’ve met (Zinedine) Zidane and Ronaldo a couple of months ago and I met (Russia’s NHL goaltender Nikolai) Khabibulin, whose daughter is playing tennis,” Sharapova said.

“I also met Shaquille O’Neil in Miami. He’s so huge and when he shook my hand I was so scared that he was going to break it. I also love to watch football, not American football but Russian football.”

Sharapova also said that she would love to meet President Vladimir Putin and was looking to buy real estate in Moscow.

“I was so surprised when Putin called me last year to congratulate me on my Wimbledon title,” she said.

“Just imagine, I’m going shoping in London and suddenly there’s Putin on the phone calling. I just said ‘Oh Wow!’”

The only thing Sharapova did not like about Moscow was the city’s notorious traffic jams. “I think it’s worse than in Los Angeles,” she said. “Everything else is just great here. I think it’s one of the best cities in the world.”

goldenlox
Oct 11th, 2005, 02:20 PM
Maria Sharapova unwilling to trade her Russian citizenship for anything

10/11/2005 13:39

World's tennis player No. 1 answered questions at a press conference before the opening of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

The Kremlin Cup international tennis tournament opened in Moscow yesterday. Maria Sharapova (http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/90/360/10379_sharapova.html)'s arrival in Moscow has already become the central event of the entire tournament. Maria gave a press conference on the threshold of the event: the President of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpishchev, awarded world's tennis player No.1 (http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/90/361/16021_Sharapova.html) with a badge of an honored master of sports and presented the Russian Cup prize to mark Sharapova's achievements of the best Russian tennis player during the recent 200 years. http://english.pravda.ru/img/2005/10/Maria.jpg

Do you see yourself as a Russian or an American citizen? Is it in your plans to change citizenship?

I consider myself a Russian, especially when I live abroad. I do not even think about changing my citizenship.

You will have to play some other Russian tennis players during the tournament. Do you have any preferences on whom would you like to play?

It makes no difference to me, whom to play. I can only say that it is hard to play them.

How do you like the court surface?

The surface is slow, although I have played on such a surface before this year. I will get used to it.

Which victory of yours do you see as the most important accomplishment that you made?

It is Wimbledon, of course. I love fast court.

Maria Sharapova arrives in Moscow to win the Kremlin Cup: Photo gallery (http://www1.newsteam.ru/reports/index.html?10,285,8)

Do you have any friends in the world of tennis?

Yes, it is Maria Kirilenko, first and foremost.

Your father always accompanies you when you travel for tournaments. Does your mother participate in your tennis career?

No, she does not. She deals with my studies and takes me to museums. Tennis is my father's prerogative only.

Did you follow the Russian tennis team in the Fed Cup?

Yes, the girls did very well. It is hard to win for the second time. Maybe, I will help them next year.

What other sports do you prefer?

Football and hockey. I am a fan of Madrid's Real. I have recently had a chance to meet Zidane.

Do you have any acquaintances with Russian hockey-players?

Yes, with Nikolay Khabibulin.

And what about Hollywood?

I am friends with Uma Thurman. She is a great woman.

What are you going to do after tennis? You have recently launched the production of your perfume.

I like fashion. I will probably go studying in this field. As for perfumes, I personally participated in the production process and blended scents. The perfume has just been released in the USA, but it will be out in Russia soon too.

Have you managed to see anything in Moscow yet or visit any events probably?

http://english.pravda.ru/img/2005/10/maria_sharapova.jpgI do not attend any events. My goal is to win the Kremlin Cup. I have done a little shopping and bought some shoes. Moscow has very good stores; this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world really.

Are you going to buy an apartment in Moscow?

Yes, I am, but I am not telling you where. I hope that I will be visiting Moscow more often than I do now.

Do you drive?

Yes, I own two cars, a BMW and a Rover SUV. I am a good driver; at least I have not been in a car accident yet.

Do you have a special talisman?

Not really, no, just my cell phone, probably, which I always carry with me.

Have you spoken to Boris Yeltsin?

Yes, but not a lot. His secretary approached me and said that Mr. Yeltsin would like to talk to me. We had a sweet short conversation.

What about Vladimir Putin? Did you congratulate the president on his birthday?

I would love to. I was glad when he called to congratulate me on my victory in Wimbledon and then on my birthday. I did not congratulate Mr. Putin (http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/350/16271_Putin.html) on his birthday, but I will a little bit later.

Do you follow Russia's life while living in the USA? Do you like any new books or movies?

My father does. He likes Brat, the movie (translates into English as "Brother") and its sequel, Brat-2. I listen to the Russian band called Umathurman. As for books, Maria Kirilenko has recently given me one, but I have not read it yet.

What is the most important thing for you in life?

Health. Everything else will come along.

goldenlox
Oct 12th, 2005, 04:18 PM
MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova scraped into the
Kremlin Cup quarter-finals when Anna-Lena Groenefeld retired
with an ankle injury leading their second-round match 6-1 4-2 on
Wednesday.




The unseeded German was 4-1 ahead of the world number one
and top seed in the second set when she slipped and twisted her
left ankle.




After a medical time-out during which the ankle was taped,
Groenefeld, on the brink of tears, played three more points
before quitting.




"I knew I didn't win this match fairly. I don't like such
victories," Sharapova told reporters.




"But strange things do happen in tennis and today's match
was one of them."




Groenefeld had dominated Sharapova from the start.




The Florida-based Russian, who was making her Kremlin Cup
debut, was broken three times in the opening set, losing her
serve to love in the third and seventh games.




"I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous before
the match," the 18-year-old said.




Sharapova again surrendered her serve in the fourth game of
the second set when she hit a lame forehand into the net on
break point to fall 1-3 behind.




Groenefeld won the next game and held two break points in
the sixth before stumbling on the baseline as she tried to reach
Sharapova's forehand.




"I knew she was a strong player and played well in Beijing
but I must admit I just wasn't myself on the court today," said
Sharapova, who beat Groenefeld 6-2 6-2 in their only previous
encounter at the German Open this year.




"It's always tough to come back after injury and I haven't
played for two weeks, so obviously I need some time to find my
rhythm. Hopefully, I'll play better in my next match."




Sharapova has not played since pulling out of her semi-final
with a chest injury at last month's China Open, where Groenefeld
reach the final before losing to Maria Kirilenko.




Sharapova began tentatively and had to save a break point in
the opening game before going ahead 1-0. But it was all
Groenefeld after that as she pinned the 2004 Wimbledon champion
to the baseline.




A 10,000-strong home crowd, including Moscow Mayor Yuri
Luzhkov, urged Sharapova on with chants 'Masha, Masha', as she
tried to stay in the match.




"The crowd definitely helped me today. It was nice to hear
them yell my name. The atmosphere was very much Russian," said
Sharapova, who left her homeland 11 years ago to pursue her
career in the United States.

pinkfrog
Oct 12th, 2005, 07:53 PM
i'm not sure if this has been posted, but i thought everyone would like it (im at work so i can't post the picture):

Maria Sharapova pink Motorola RAZR
Sep 15 2005 - 03:42 PM ET | Motorola
We got up close and personal with the upcoming Maria Sharapova RAZR this week at a media event in New York. The all pink phone should be ready for the holiday season according to Motorola. It was first shown off at an analyst meeting in Chicago earlier this year. Pricing or availability hasn't been announced, but we expect this to be a hit with the diva crowd.

Features are the same as a normal RAZR, but the color is an extremely bright pink (the pictures can't really capture how bright the color is). Sharapova's signature is on the back.

Motorola previously said other colors will become available, but exactly what colors and the time frame is still unknown. The pink model will become the third color (after the original silver and more recent black).

Maria Croft
Oct 12th, 2005, 08:05 PM
thanks for all the articles!

xan
Oct 13th, 2005, 12:39 AM
Thursday, October 13, 2005. Issue 3273. Page 1.
Moscow Times

Sharapova Escapes Defeat at Debut

By David Nowak
Staff Writer

Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

The roar from the Kremlin Cup crowd that accompanied Maria Sharapova when she stepped onto a Russian court for the first time in her professional career Wednesday was the welcome that she might have hoped for, crushing any lingering doubts about her place in the hearts of her compatriots.

But the victory that was expected over an unseeded German player began to look all but impossible after Anna-Lena Groenefeld thrashed her 6-1 in the first set and took a 4-1 lead in the second before twisting her left ankle and crumpling to the court.

Groenefeld took time out to have her ankle taped and then gamely tried to continue the match. With tears in her eyes and unable to put much weight on her left leg, she lost three straight points before retiring with the score 6-1, 4-2.

"I knew I didn't win this match fairly. I don't like such victories," Sharapova, the world No. 1, told reporters. "But strange things happen in tennis, and today's match was one of them."

Center court at the Olimpiisky Sports Complex was as packed for Wednesday's second-round match as for many a Kremlin Cup final. Russian tennis fans had come to get their first look at Sharapova, who was born in Siberia but has lived more than half of her 20 years in Florida.

Sergei Savushkin, 40, made the trip from Samara to welcome her home.

"Most people don't understand her, but I do. It's not true what some people say and what they write in the press sometimes, that she is somehow un-Russian," Savushkin said. "What do people expect? She was born in a communist state and realized that her best chance to make it in tennis was to go to America. This doesn't make her un-Russian, it makes her a champion -- our champion."

Another fan chimed in: "She's a real Russian. I am proud we have a world No. 1."

If she could take little pride in how she won the match, Sharapova said she was thrilled by the crowd support.

"All the shouting -- Masha, Masha, Masha -- and all in Russian. It was great," she said after the match.

As Sharapova fought back in the sixth game of the second set, trailing 1-4, the familiar booming cry of "Rossia!" rang out from the press stands for the first time during the match. Dmitry Grantsev, or at least his voice, is familiar to anyone who has attended a major tennis match in Russia because of his rallying cry.

He said he had waited until deep into the second set because "for the first time it felt like she had a chance."

"I usually feel when they need my support," said Grantsev, who has covered the Kremlin Cup for the Argumenty i Fakty weekly since the tournament began in 1990. He said he had asked most of the leading players whether they liked his cheering and "they say it helps, especially the men."

After the injury, though, it was Groenefeld who had much of the crowd's sympathy, with chants of "Anna, Anna" springing up in sections of the stands
From the beginning of the match, the 19th-ranked Groenefeld outplayed her more illustrious opponent at almost every turn. Her motif was a stinging crosscourt backhand for which Sharapova had no answer.

Sharapova's game as a power baseliner seemed to desert her, and she missed repeatedly with her forehand.

"I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous before the match," she told reporters.

The bigger problem, she said, was that she had been unable to find her rhythm, though that was normal after an injury. She had not played in two weeks, since pulling out of her semi-final with a chest injury at the China Open, where Groenefeld reached the final before losing to Maria Kirilenko.

Sharapova had beaten Groenefeld 6-2, 6-2 in their only previous encounter, at the German Open this year. And she said she had not given up during Wednesday's match.

"I don't think that I had totally lost the match. Sometimes you look at the score and you think it's all lost, but anything can happen in tennis, and sometimes people even come back from matchpoint down," she said.

Sharapova will face either Dinara Safina, younger sister of Marat Safin, or Australia's Samantha Stosur, who play Thursday, for a place in the semifinals.

To progress, she admitted she would have to play better than she did Wednesday.

"I need to feel like I am able to really play. I need to work on my footwork and the forehand especially," she said.

Dan23
Oct 13th, 2005, 01:10 AM
The roar from the Kremlin Cup crowd that accompanied Maria Sharapova when she stepped onto a Russian court for the first time in her professional career Wednesday was the welcome that she might have hoped for, crushing any lingering doubts about her place in the hearts of her compatriots.:worship: :worship:
So great to hear...

Teemu
Oct 13th, 2005, 08:05 AM
Nice articles, thanks. :)

-Em-
Oct 13th, 2005, 09:02 AM
hi guys,
how are ya doing?
it's rather an accident that i'm here, but that's whati found in today's edition of the new york times :)
so enjoy:)

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/13/international/europe/13moscow.html?8hpib

Moscow Journal

Masha, Behold Your City! Now Don't Keep Us Guessing

By C. J. CHIVERS
Published: October 13, 2005

MOSCOW, Oct. 12 - When the world's top-ranked women's tennis player tossed a ball high overhead Wednesday evening, stretching her almost impossibly long frame backward before smashing the descending ball with such force that it briefly became a blurred yellow line, more than a tennis match had begun.

Associated Press

Maria Sharapova was welcomed back to Moscow at a hotel reception Monday night.

Sergei Kivrin for The New York Times

Maria Sharapova was warmly cheered in her Kremlin Cup match Wednesday, despite poor play, until her opponent, who was drubbing her, was injured.

This was a homecoming, or at least what passed for one in a nation that has seen so many of its citizens wander away in search of better lives.

After a jealously watched ascent in the United States, Maria Sharapova was making her professional domestic debut. A star had returned home.

Home is a malleable and contentious notion when the subject is Ms. Sharapova, who is a Russian citizen, having lived in Siberia from her birth in 1987 until she was 7. Her family had resettled there after escaping the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

But Ms. Sharapova long ago departed Siberia for Florida, and after 11 years as an expatriate in the United States has come to resemble nothing so much as a glamorous young American blonde. Her English is flawless. Her perfume line is with Macy's. Her Russian, which is natural, still manages to be sprinkled with English nouns.

And so her arrival this week for the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, a city she had passed through only once since she packed out, has marked more than just her first tournament on a Russian court. It has fueled a flirtation.

Russia has nervously, and giddily, been courting one of its own.

Or is she? Even as Ms. Sharapova has been treated this week to the warmest of public embraces, from fawning news coverage to a surprise state award, her intentions have been the subject of endless inquiry and speculation.

It is a courtship in which subtext almost always lurks. Yes, she was dotingly cheered throughout an unsettling 63 minutes on Wednesday, even as she played poorly, escaping what seemed certain defeat when lower ranked Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who was drubbing her, sprained her left ankle and had to quit.

But the unflagging encouragement - "Masha! Masha!" they chanted, using the Russian diminutive for her first name - could barely mask the questions.

Masha. Masha. Will she play on the Russian national team? Will she represent Russia in the Olympics? Or, dare mention it, will she become an American citizen, defecting with her talent and her fame to a land that has no shortage of stars? "If I could meet her I would say, 'Masha, ty nasha,' " said Valentina Tochilina, 42, who had taken her 15-year-old son out of school to see Ms. Sharapova's long-legged game.

Masha, ty nasha. It means, "Masha, you are ours."

More than just tennis has been at work in these twin bursts of adoration and worry. There is something deeper.

One key to understanding Russia is to be finely attuned to the workings of wounded pride. Talent and families have streamed over its borders since the Bolsheviks rose to power. This is the country that lost the cold war and the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The Moscow that Ms. Sharapova has arrived in is a place where the remains of Communism still sag. But it also glows in neon and thrums with ostentatious wealth.

And as a fresh face in the pantheon of the new Russian rich, Ms. Sharapova occupies a special and affecting place: she actually earned her spot, unlike so many of the others with the big black cars, about whom it is a popular article of faith that they scaled society's heights and piled up their fortunes through graft, swindles or theft.

This is not the nation Ms. Sharapova left behind 11 years back. Its contrasts test the eyes.

Behind one door, bar girls pour $25 cocktails while babushkas in dreary shops nearby sell half-liter bottles of vodka for the change in your pants. Moscow has more billionaires than Manhattan, and a populace that is largely still crowded into Soviet-era public housing.

The wealthy are noticed here, but often not much liked.

It is also a city where no matter what you ride, be it in a whining Zhiguli or a bulletproof Mercedes, you cannot help but notice Maria Sharapova, whose face gazes down from everywhere on billboards for the products she hypes.

And unlike so many of the other millionaires, she is authentically popular. It is not only because she has a composed presence that seems ahead of her years, or because she is an athletic perfectionist, or even because she wins. Her story appeals.

"Her situation was not easy in her family, and she rose all the way to the top," said Natalya Boldina, 14, who cut class to see her idol play. "That is why we respect her."

As for the questions that chase her, Ms. Sharapova has handled them all this week with ease. If she has misgivings about Russia, in all its disarray and disrepair, she has been smart enough to keep them to herself.

Yes, she told the packs of journalists, she wants a spot on the Russian national team. Yes, she hopes to play for Russia in the Olympics.

No, she said, she has never thought of becoming an American citizen. After advancing on Wednesday after the dominating Ms. Groenefeld hobbled off the court, she endeared herself further when she said she was considering starting a tennis school in Sochi, on the coast of the Black Sea.

The answers lined up with what her Russian fans wanted. But always there was that stubborn sense of trepidation.

Never mind how she plays in the next match.

The city is hers for the taking. And it wonders: will she accept?

Arhivarius
Oct 13th, 2005, 01:33 PM
Fnny article, funny photos here. :)
http://www.kp.ru/daily/23595/45558/

nouf
Oct 13th, 2005, 11:21 PM
http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/7601/mariamoscouequipebynouf8bu.th.jpg (http://img135.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mariamoscouequipebynouf8bu.jpg)

morningglory
Oct 13th, 2005, 11:51 PM
hi guys,
how are ya doing?
it's rather an accident that i'm here, but that's whati found in today's edition of the new york times :)
so enjoy:)

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/13/international/europe/13moscow.html?8hpib

Moscow Journal

Masha, Behold Your City! Now Don't Keep Us Guessing

By C. J. CHIVERS
Published: October 13, 2005

MOSCOW, Oct. 12 - When the world's top-ranked women's tennis player tossed a ball high overhead Wednesday evening, stretching her almost impossibly long frame backward before smashing the descending ball with such force that it briefly became a blurred yellow line, more than a tennis match had begun.

Associated Press

Maria Sharapova was welcomed back to Moscow at a hotel reception Monday night.

Sergei Kivrin for The New York Times

Maria Sharapova was warmly cheered in her Kremlin Cup match Wednesday, despite poor play, until her opponent, who was drubbing her, was injured.

This was a homecoming, or at least what passed for one in a nation that has seen so many of its citizens wander away in search of better lives.

After a jealously watched ascent in the United States, Maria Sharapova was making her professional domestic debut. A star had returned home.

Home is a malleable and contentious notion when the subject is Ms. Sharapova, who is a Russian citizen, having lived in Siberia from her birth in 1987 until she was 7. Her family had resettled there after escaping the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

But Ms. Sharapova long ago departed Siberia for Florida, and after 11 years as an expatriate in the United States has come to resemble nothing so much as a glamorous young American blonde. Her English is flawless. Her perfume line is with Macy's. Her Russian, which is natural, still manages to be sprinkled with English nouns.

And so her arrival this week for the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, a city she had passed through only once since she packed out, has marked more than just her first tournament on a Russian court. It has fueled a flirtation.

Russia has nervously, and giddily, been courting one of its own.

Or is she? Even as Ms. Sharapova has been treated this week to the warmest of public embraces, from fawning news coverage to a surprise state award, her intentions have been the subject of endless inquiry and speculation.

It is a courtship in which subtext almost always lurks. Yes, she was dotingly cheered throughout an unsettling 63 minutes on Wednesday, even as she played poorly, escaping what seemed certain defeat when lower ranked Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who was drubbing her, sprained her left ankle and had to quit.

But the unflagging encouragement - "Masha! Masha!" they chanted, using the Russian diminutive for her first name - could barely mask the questions.

Masha. Masha. Will she play on the Russian national team? Will she represent Russia in the Olympics? Or, dare mention it, will she become an American citizen, defecting with her talent and her fame to a land that has no shortage of stars? "If I could meet her I would say, 'Masha, ty nasha,' " said Valentina Tochilina, 42, who had taken her 15-year-old son out of school to see Ms. Sharapova's long-legged game.

Masha, ty nasha. It means, "Masha, you are ours."

More than just tennis has been at work in these twin bursts of adoration and worry. There is something deeper.

One key to understanding Russia is to be finely attuned to the workings of wounded pride. Talent and families have streamed over its borders since the Bolsheviks rose to power. This is the country that lost the cold war and the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The Moscow that Ms. Sharapova has arrived in is a place where the remains of Communism still sag. But it also glows in neon and thrums with ostentatious wealth.

And as a fresh face in the pantheon of the new Russian rich, Ms. Sharapova occupies a special and affecting place: she actually earned her spot, unlike so many of the others with the big black cars, about whom it is a popular article of faith that they scaled society's heights and piled up their fortunes through graft, swindles or theft.

This is not the nation Ms. Sharapova left behind 11 years back. Its contrasts test the eyes.

Behind one door, bar girls pour $25 cocktails while babushkas in dreary shops nearby sell half-liter bottles of vodka for the change in your pants. Moscow has more billionaires than Manhattan, and a populace that is largely still crowded into Soviet-era public housing.

The wealthy are noticed here, but often not much liked.

It is also a city where no matter what you ride, be it in a whining Zhiguli or a bulletproof Mercedes, you cannot help but notice Maria Sharapova, whose face gazes down from everywhere on billboards for the products she hypes.

And unlike so many of the other millionaires, she is authentically popular. It is not only because she has a composed presence that seems ahead of her years, or because she is an athletic perfectionist, or even because she wins. Her story appeals.

"Her situation was not easy in her family, and she rose all the way to the top," said Natalya Boldina, 14, who cut class to see her idol play. "That is why we respect her."

As for the questions that chase her, Ms. Sharapova has handled them all this week with ease. If she has misgivings about Russia, in all its disarray and disrepair, she has been smart enough to keep them to herself.

Yes, she told the packs of journalists, she wants a spot on the Russian national team. Yes, she hopes to play for Russia in the Olympics.

No, she said, she has never thought of becoming an American citizen. After advancing on Wednesday after the dominating Ms. Groenefeld hobbled off the court, she endeared herself further when she said she was considering starting a tennis school in Sochi, on the coast of the Black Sea.

The answers lined up with what her Russian fans wanted. But always there was that stubborn sense of trepidation.

Never mind how she plays in the next match.

The city is hers for the taking. And it wonders: will she accept?
The Russians LOVE her awww.... :hearts:

Portobello
Oct 14th, 2005, 04:33 AM
Thx for the articles :)

Dan23
Oct 17th, 2005, 12:19 PM
http://www.mosnews.com/feature/2005/10/17/mariash.shtml

Quite an interesting article...superbly written :cool:

Dan23
Oct 17th, 2005, 12:22 PM
...also http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/10/17/sharapleave.shtml

goldenlox
Oct 17th, 2005, 02:13 PM
http://www.mosnews.com/files/11393/sharapova.jpg


Maria Sharapova holds her award from the Russian Tennis Federation for Russia’s best player in 2004-2005 / Photo: AP

No Sweet Home for Maria Sharapova in Russia

Created: 17.10.2005

Lisa Vronskaya

MosNews

Maria Sharapova is young, beautiful, rich and successful. To crown it all, she is Russian, even if she has spent most of her life in the U.S. So what is wrong with us here in Russia? Why, instead of feeling proud of her, are we gloating with joy to see her ousted from her first homeland tournament?

I am not sure if it is typical of Russians only, but we seem to be completely incapable of feeling pride for our successful compatriots. Instead, we turn green with envy and rejoice at their failures.

Maria Sharapova, the first-ever Russian tennis player to top the WTA ratings, recently awarded a top sports title in Russia, was ousted from Russia’s pro tournament Friday as she lost in the Kremlin Cup quarter-finals to Dinara Safina, the sister of another Russian tennis star, Marat Safin.

Sharapova had been forced to struggle even to make it to the quarters. Earlier, she was awarded victory in the game with Anna-Lena Groenefeld only because the German player withdrew with an ankle injury.

What beats me is the gloating delight with which Sharapova’s failure was reported on the Russian television and in the local press. Her Russian rivals must be happy too. One only needs to recall how just a year ago, at last year’s Fed Cup finals in Moscow, Anastasia Myskina said she would stop playing for Russia if Sharapova was invited to join the team. U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and the rest of Russia’s Fed Cup team sided with Myskina.

“I think this year’s team has a great spirit and all the girls are very supportive of each other,” the then world number five said. “I don’t know if we’re going to have the same camaraderie in the future.”

Kuznetsova also added spice to the long-running saga of “us against them” by publicly acknowledging her dislike of Sharapova. When asked who was the most popular Russian player worldwide, she said with a wry grin: “Sharapova of course —- but I don’t know if you would call her Russian though. She is more American than Russian. She speaks Russian with a coarse accent.”

True, Sharapova speaks Russian with an accent but what would you expect from someone who was taken out of Russia as a small child and spent most of her life in an English-speaking country. Nevertheless, she says she feels like a true Russian. “Even in the U.S. I feel like a Russian,” she said upon her arrival in Moscow this month.

What makes her even more worthy of respect is that despite her U.S. upbringing and the seeming distance between herself and her homeland she is still willing to play in and for Russia. Considering the attitude of other players and the belligerence she is met with the young lady might as well play for the United States, where she has been trained to become what she is now.

Remarkably, before the opening of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Sharapova said: “I want to play for Russia, I definitely want to play for Russia in Fed Cup competition.” Unlike international news agencies who reported Sharapova’s willingness in principle to play for the Russian team, local media focused on her statement where she said: “I just don’t know when I’ll be ready to make my Fed Cup debut…I’m not yet physically ready to play for the team. Even without it I play too much tennis for my age. I don’t know how I am going to feel next year and cannot promise anything, although we have got an agreement with Shamil Tarpishchev.”

But if she does join the team it could spell trouble for her, her potential teammates have hinted.

Maria Sharapova will never become another Anna Kournikova, and here I cannot but agree with Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation who told reporters on Friday that Sharapova will not follow in the footsteps of Anna Kournikova and exchange sport for advertising contracts and show business.

“Never. She is bent on results,” Tarpishchev said answering a reporter’s question about Sharapova’s future. He added that Sharapova had a very stable psychology. “Sharapova has a phenomenal nervous system. She is within herself, such people are rare. That is why she has not been ’star-struck’,” the Russian tennis boss said.

Sharapova, with her top-model looks and first place in the WTA rating, got over $18 million in advertising contracts after winning Wimbledon in 2004. By many accounts she has become the biggest earner in women’s sport.

But Russian people detest winners and big earners. Someone who is rich in this country is seen by many as more of a fraud than a hard worker. Over the years of Soviet rule people learned that working hard brought no results, while theft did. Few are willing to work hard, it has always been that way.

People are envious of others’ success and are happy to see them lose. I am sure that Maria Sharapova does not need my sympathy and support, she is a strong person and, I hope, is able to ignore those who wish her ill. I have never been infatuated with her, for, all in all, tennis is not something I really care about.

But I have grown to respect her lately. After winning so many tournaments, here in Moscow she has proved that she knows — unlike some other Russian players — how to lose with dignity.

“I knew I didn’t win this match fairly. I don’t like such victories,” Sharapova said after being awarded victory in the match with Groenefeld. “But strange things do happen in tennis and today’s match was one of them.”

And still, I would wish her all the best of luck and hope she retains her ratings for years ahead, and that she plays for the Fed Cup team one day.

goldenlox
Oct 17th, 2005, 02:14 PM
http://www.kommersant.com/photo/300/DAILY/2005/195M/KMO_068651_00173_1m.jpg (http://www.kommersant.com/gallery.asp?id=618222&pics_id=23672) Her passion was real as Maria Sharapova (center) sang the refrain to the popular song by group Umaturman "I've so been waiting for you,Vova," right to guitaist Vladimir Kristovsky (left).
Photo: Valery Levitin (http://www.kommersant.ru/photo/)


Other Photoshttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/photo/75/DAILY/2005/195M/KMO_068651_00056_1h_t75.jpg (http://www.kommersant.com/gallery.asp?id=618222&pics_id=23673)http://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/photo/75/DAILY/2005/195M/KMO_068651_00305_1h_t75.jpg (http://www.kommersant.com/gallery.asp?id=618222&pics_id=23674)http://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/photo/75/DAILY/2005/195M/KMO_068651_00327_1h_t75.jpg (http://www.kommersant.com/gallery.asp?id=618222&pics_id=23675)http://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gif http://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gif


(http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?idr=530&id=617663)
http://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gif


http://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifhttp://www.kommersant.com/pics/a.gifOct. 17, 2005


Maria Sharapova Sings at Reception in Her Honor

Honors

Tennis player Maria Sharapova was in Moscow for Kremlin (http://www.kreml.ru/) Cup only came out into society after a week. Finally, there was a reception in her honor at the Ararat Park Hyatt last Monday attended by professionals such as Shamil Tarpishchev and fans such as Alexander Gafin alike. But Sharapova like the musicians, the Russian pop group Umaturman, best.

The world's top tennis player arrived in Moscow from Germany on October 1 in her private plane. She nursed her injured shoulder all last week, only to appear at the Kremlin (http://www.kreml.ru/) Cup without particular success. Between training sessions, she went shopping.

Sharapova arrived at the evening in her honor on the second floor of the hotel accompanied by her father Yury and Dmitry Goryachkin, personal manager from the American IMG agency. Both of them stayed close by her side the whole time.

She stopped and posed with pleasure for the crowd of photographers at the entrance to the hotel. “Russian paparazzi are very nice,” she said with a smile. “They're not intrusive like the ones in America.”

“Masha is in Moscow for the first time in 11 years. She likes everything so much that she even asked used to find an apartment for her here,” Goryachkin said. Sharapova arrived after the buffet had already been open for an hour and immediately took the stage. “I am very happy to be here,” she told, “and I'm glad to be the top racket in the world.” The audience burst into applause and began to discuss her distinct American accent.

Near the oyster bar, president of the Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpishchev told his friends why Sharapova came to play in the Kremlin Cup. “You understand, Masha is Russian in spirit and wants to be considered a Russian tennis player. She did not become an American citizen, even though she could earn seven times as much in advertising.” Having sized up her finances, Tarpishchev evaluated her chances on the court. “I think she will at least make the semifinals. I have hopes for Lena Dementyeva too, of course.” Chief editor of Russian Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/) Leonid Parfenov noted that “Sharapova is an excellent advertisement for the Russian tournament, and the Cup's rating is growing.” “You should know about the rating,” banker Alexander Reznikov chipped in. “You are always making them in your Newsweek.” “Should we try the blini with caviar?” Parfenov replied. The company proceeded to the table with buckwheat crepes and black Astrakhan caviar. They didn't say a word about Sharapova as a woman or as a person.

Vice president of Alfa Bank (http://www.alfa-bank.com/) Alexander Gafin was standing off to one side. “I'm not just standing here,” he explained. “I talked to Maria. She's a good girl. We will work together.” He would not disclose the nature of their collaboration.

Umaturman, whose members are known to be fans of Sharapova's, had barely come on when Kremlin Cup executive director Alexander Katsnelson and former director Alexander Volkov rushed out. Volkov has had serious health problems for the last few years, and it was pleasant to see him looking fit and happy.

The stage was small and it turned out that there was no place for the group's soloists, Vladimir and Sergey Kristovsky. Sharapova was standing literally at arm's length from them. She and her bodyguards made up the front row of spectators, as no one else could fit in next to them. Vladimir Kristovsky and Sharapova made immediate eye contact.

The tall, broad-shouldered blonde in high heels and a Louis Vuitton dress stood facing the little man with the messy hair and guitar. She smiled and sang along. She tried to dance, but she was uncomfortable in her isolation. Parfenov smiled as he watched the scene.

“How does she know them? She grew up in America.” actress Lyubov Tolkalina asked her husband. “Journalists sent her their disks and she likes the Kristovskys,” producer Egor Konchalovksy answered, maneuvering her closer to the stage. The band had performed all five of their songs by then.

“Masha, what is your favorite song,” Vladimir Kristovsky asked. Observers noted that he could have asked her anything at all after their eyes-making. “The song about Uma Thurman,” Sharapova answered. “Then come up and sing it,” Kristovksy replied. The rest of the show was for her alone. It was karaoke time. “But I don't know all the words,” she confessed. The crowd urged her on. She sang the refrain with great enthusiasm, to everyone's delight.

“Did you see how she reacted to them [the Kristovksys]?” a lady said. “Her father doesn't let her see boys who play guitars.” His strictness is legendary. “That's nothing. Some big hockey player will come along, and it'll be bye bye papa,” Rexnikov prophesied. Miroslav Melnik, secretary of the Journalists' Union of Russia, agreed with him. “A weak man will never get close to her,” he said. “Here you need a player like Pasha Bure.” At that very moment, hockey player Pavel Bure and his constant companion Anzori Kikalishvili, of the 21st Century Anzori Fund. He led the girl to a table, and her father Yury quickly joined them and they were photographed. “Golden shots,” Goryachkin commented to her. “We have opened an IMG branch in Moscow. Now we will represent all the sports stars.” Bure and Sharapova promised to cheer for each other. With that, the show ended.

Bure's support didn't help Sharapova. She didn't even make it into the semifinals. “I don't understand,” Tarpishchev said in a private conversation. “Our girl really was the strongest, but she lost to God knows who.” Therefore, the women's final of the cup was not a full-fledged society event. In the first row of the half-empty VIP stand, head of the World Class Fitness Club chain Olga Slutsker, restaurateur Arkady Novikov and his wife Marina watched Frenchwoman Mary Pierce win. Boris Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana Dyachenko joined them later. The stand filled up after the break before the men's final. Among those rooting for Igor Andreev as he played against Nicholas Kiefer were head of the Federal Sports Agency Vyacheslav Fetisov, composer Igor Krutoi chairman of the board of AFK Sistema Vladimir Evtushenkov, former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Alfa bank president Petr Aven, president of the Russian Association of managers Alexander Braverman and trainer Igor Shalimov. For the first time since its founding, the cup was not attended by first Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who recently underwent ophthalmologic surgery.

goldenlox
Oct 17th, 2005, 02:16 PM
http://www.mosnews.com/files/11409/sharapova2.jpg


Maria Sharapova / Photo: AP

Sharapova Still Set to Play in Russia, Despite Defeat

Created: 17.10.2005

MosNews

The world number one arrived in Moscow confident of winning Russia’s biggest tennis tournament but was upstaged by fellow Russian teenager Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals, the Reuters news agency reports.

“I would have loved to win here in Moscow playing for the first time in front of so many Russian fans and of course I’m disappointed by losing,” said Sharapova after being ousted by the younger sister of Australian Open champion Marat Safin. “But, despite all that, I have a lot more good memories than bad of being here and I would love to come back next year.”

The Florida-based Russian returned home on Monday to rest and prepare for the end-of-season WTA Championships in Los Angeles, where she will defend her title. “This is my first real visit to Moscow because the last time I was here five or six years ago I was very young and didn’t remember much,” explained the 18-year-old, who left her homeland 11 years ago to pursue her career in the United States. “So this time I’ve enjoyed my experience very much.”

Sharapova visited Moscow’s tourist spots, including the Kremlin and Red Square, had a trip to the circus and went shopping at some of the city’s expensive boutiques. She also found time for a party at the start of the $2.3 million tournament where she met some of Russia’s pop stars and fellow high-profile athletes such as NHL All-Star Pavel Bure.

During her first news conference in Moscow, one reporter asked Sharapova if she was dating any hockey players, alluding to another well-known U.S.-based Russian, Anna Kournikova, who was married to Sergei Fedorov and also dated Bure. Sharapova said she only knew Russian goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, whose daughter plays tennis.

After saying she would love to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sharapova was invited to Putin’s suburban residence last Thursday.

Although the meeting was called off at the last minute because of an emergency situation in Russia’s Caucasus region, Sharapova said she was hoping to meet him next time. Sharapova received a warm welcome from a near capacity home crowd in her Kremlin Cup debut against German Anna-Lena Groenefeld with fans chanting “Masha, Masha”.

“It was nice to hear them yell my name. The atmosphere was very much Russian,” she said.

Although the crowd began cheering for Safina in her second match in Moscow, she still enjoyed the experience.

“Well, fans always root for the underdog,” Sharapova said after being asked if she was offended.

It seems the only thing the 2004 Wimbledon champion did not like about her Moscow experience, aside from notorious traffic jams, was the surface at the Olympic sports complex.

“The surface here is very dangerous as you can see from today’s match,” Sharapova said after Groenefeld slipped on the court and badly injured her ankle in their match. The German was forced to retire while leading 6-1 4-2. Sharapova also confirmed her plans to play for Russia in the Fed Cup. “I would love to represent my country in Fed Cup in the near future,” she said.

goldenlox
Oct 17th, 2005, 02:17 PM
Fond memories of Moscow despite defeat for Sharapova
Mon Oct 17, 2005
http://i.today.reuters.co.uk/news/images/clear.gif http://i.today.reuters.co.uk/news/images/clear.gif

By Gennady Fyodorov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova said she would have lasting memories of her first "real" homecoming despite a disappointing showing at last week's Kremlin Cup.

The world number one arrived in Moscow confident of winning Russia's biggest tennis tournament but was upstaged by fellow Russian teenager Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals.

"I would have loved to win here in Moscow playing for the first time in front of so many Russian fans and of course I'm disappointed by losing," said Sharapova after being ousted by the younger sister of Australian Open champion Marat Safin.

"But, despite all that, I have a lot more good memories than bad of being here and I would love to come back next year."

The Florida-based Russian returned home on Monday to rest and prepare for the end-of-season WTA Championships in Los Angeles, where she will defend her title.

"This is my first real visit to Moscow because the last time I was here five or six years ago I was very young and didn't remember much," explained the 18-year-old, who left her homeland 11 years ago to pursue her career in the United States.

"So this time I've enjoyed my experience very much."

Sharapova visited Moscow's tourist spots, including the Kremlin and Red Square, had a trip to the circus and went shopping at some of the city's expensive boutiques.

She also found time for a party at the start of the $2.3 million (1.3 million pound) tournament where she met some of Russia's pop stars and fellow high-profile athletes such as NHL All-Star Pavel Bure.

DATING BURE

During her first news conference in Moscow, one reporter asked Sharapova if she was dating any hockey players, alluding to another well-known U.S.-based Russian, Anna Kournikova, who was married to Sergei Fedorov and also dated Bure.

Sharapova said she only knew Russian goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, whose daughter plays tennis.

After saying she would love to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sharapova was invited to Putin's suburban residence last Thursday.

Although the meeting was called off at the last minute because of an emergency situation in Russia's Caucasus region, Sharapova said she was hoping to meet him next time.

Sharapova received a warm welcome from a near capacity home crowd in her Kremlin Cup debut against German Anna-Lena Groenefeld with fans chanting "Masha, Masha".

"It was nice to hear them yell my name. The atmosphere was very much Russian," she said.

Although the crowd began cheering for Safina in her second match in Moscow, she still enjoyed the experience.

"Well, fans always root for the underdog," Sharapova said after being asked if she was offended.

It seems the only thing the 2004 Wimbledon champion did not like about her Moscow experience, aside from notorious traffic jams, was the surface at the Olympic sports complex.

"The surface here is very dangerous as you can see from today's match," Sharapova said after Groenefeld slipped on the court and badly injured her ankle in their match. The German was forced to retire while leading 6-1 4-2.

Sharapova also confirmed her plans to play for Russia in the Fed Cup. "I would love to represent my country in Fed Cup in the near future," she said.

Sweep
Oct 19th, 2005, 05:10 PM
The Times October 15, 2005

Russia rolls out the red carpet for return of Sharapova
By Jeremy Page

SHE is hailed as a national icon — the Siberian beauty who overcame her poor origins to become the world’s No 1 woman tennis player.
The only problem is, Maria Sharapova is not that Russian. The 18-year-old star may have Russian citizenship but she left her native country 11 years ago and is based in Florida. She speaks flawless English, hangs out with Uma Thurman and is rumoured to be dating Adam Levine, the Maroon 5 singer.

But when she appeared at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow to play in the Kremlin Cup, the 10,000-strong home crowd welcomed her as one of their own. Spectators including the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, chanted “Masha! Masha!” as she struggled to overcome Anna-Lena Groenefeld, of Germany. They erupted in applause when Ms Groenefeld retired with an ankle injury, leading 6-1, 4-2. “It was nice to hear them yell my name,” Ms Sharapova said afterwards. “The atmosphere was very much Russian.” But the crowd’s enthusiasm did not so much reflect the quality of her game — which was way below par — as it did Russia’s collective anxiety over her sense of nationality and future plans. The question on many minds was: will she embrace her motherland, or forsake it forever by taking up US citizenship? Lena Isayeva, 42, a tennis fan, said: “She is so beautiful and talented and a great example to our children. Russia needs such people.”

Ms Sharapova is indeed a rare thing in Russia — someone whose wealth and fame are based on talent and hard graft rather than shady backdoor deals. That helps to explain the red-carpet treatment and fawning state media coverage usually reserved for heads of state. “I definitely feel Russian inside. Even when I’m in America I feel Russian,” she said at a press conference. “But coming here for the first time in years it made me feel even more so.” She disclosed that she was planning to buy an apartment in Moscow, although she could hardly avoid noticing the uglier side of Russia. On Thursday her meeting with President Putin was postponed after Chechen rebels attacked the southern spa town of Nalchik.

However, the only thing she complained about was Moscow’s traffic. “I think it’s worse than in Los Angeles,” she said. “Everything else is great here.”

GOLDEN RECORD

The Grand Slam performances of Maria Sharapova

2003
1st round of Australian Open
1st round of French Open
4th round of Wimbledon
2nd round of US Open

2004
3rd round of Australian Open
Quarter-final of French Open
Wimbledon winner
3rd round of US Open
Winner of WTA Tour Championships

2005
Semi-final of Australian Open
Quarter-final of French Open
Semi-final of Wimbledon
Semi-final of US Open

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-1827005,00.html

Even better - she had her picture on the front page. :) If I can find the cover I shall post it here.

A*THE pain W*Y*N
Oct 25th, 2005, 06:19 PM
traffic eh??

capital cities ain't the best for such matters

NATCH

**

goldenlox
Oct 30th, 2005, 04:27 PM
http://img421.imageshack.us/img421/1682/15ai1.jpg

ceiling_fan
Nov 1st, 2005, 09:38 AM
This article's from a few weeks I think, but I never read it before.

Maria and A-Rod, but don't tell dad
The protective father syndrome has played a big part in women's tennis over the years. Examples that spring to mind are the dads of Venus and Serena Williams, Mary Pierce and Jelena Dokic. Well, you can add another one to the list now with revelations by 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova that the reason she does not have a boyfriend is pretty much because her father scares off the men. "Guys have a problem approaching me because my father always follows me to tournaments. He keeps many potential suitors at a distance," said the 18-year-old after arriving back in Russia this week for the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Mind you, "daddy" had better be on his toes because those would-be suitors his glamorous daughter refers to may be more plentiful than he thinks. Already the American gossip columnists have linked her to fellow US tennis ace Andy Roddick and rock star Adam Levin. Quizzed about them, Sharapova said, "I'm often asked about guys but I don't want to talk in public about that", but one report said Roddick unexpectedly showed up at a recent launch party for Sharapova's new fragrance and earlier the pair formed "an inseparable tandem" at an awards cocktail party. On that occasion, at Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion, the statuesque Russian was asked to take a few photos with Roddick but not before he piped up: "Are you wearing heels. I'm not taking a photo with you if you're taller than me." The A-Rod had reason to be concerned — at 183 centimetres (in bare feet), she's only five centimetres shorter than him.

morningglory
Nov 1st, 2005, 03:00 PM
:rolleyes: Seems the media really wants her and Roddick together................
Keep on dreaming :p although I'd say it had only a little bit of truth as a basis, they most likely are just friends

goldenlox
Nov 8th, 2005, 02:32 PM
Sharapova faces tests on and off the court
Story Tools: http://msn.foxsports.com/fe/img/Story/print.gifPrint (http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/5063282?print=true) http://msn.foxsports.com/fe/img/Story/email.gifEmail (http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/5063282#)
Matthew Cronin

LOS ANGELES - Anna Kournikova couldn't do it at all.

Gabriela Sabatini had a sniff of it.

Serena Williams did it, but never consistently.

Now it's up to Maria Sharapova to prove that a women's tennis player can be an international sex symbol and dominate her sport.

The jury is so far out of the building on that question that security may end up locking them out for the night before they can return for a verdict.

"Anna had a lot going on in her career that took a lot of time, energy and pressure," Mary Pierce told FOXSports.com. "Maybe other interests start happening. You have to be superhuman. To dominate you have to be at your best and that takes all your time."

The fifth-ranked Pierce has been on tour for the past 14 years and has had a few of her own bouts with commercial life and celebrity. She was engaged to former baseball All-Star Roberto Alomar for three years and the celebrity of their relationship could be distracting.

Sharapova has no major man problems now, but she does have an off-court portfolio that is weighing heavily on her. She's banking a cool $19 million per year and 90 percent of those earnings are off-court.

http://msn.foxsports.com/id/5063366_36_2.jpgMaria Sharapova will have to turn it up a notch to defend her title at the WTA Championships. (Alexander Nemenov / Getty Images)

That means a lot of photo shoots, sponsor appearances and store visits. She's managed pretty well so far, but it isn't getting any easier.

"I think she's dealt very well with the pressure," said her compatriot, Elena Dementieva. "It's never easy to have all those things off the court, but when she gets on court, she seems to love the fight."

This week, Sharapova's signature perfume is available at Macy's in downtown LA.

Does she run up from the Staples Center — where she is attempting to defend her WTA Championships title — and spray some on her wrist in front of wide-eyed patrons, or does she stay in the building undergoing therapy for her two troubling injuries?

In December, the 18-year-old is planning on embarking on a Maria Sharapova Japan Tour, where she'll play a series of exhibitions during tennis' alleged off-season. How smart is that for a player who has only played a handful of contests since the U.S. Open due to injuries? How fresh is she going to be when she has to travel to Australia in January and try to fight back the chocking demons that seized in her titanic loss to Serena Williams in the 2005 Australian Open semifinals?

Maybe not very, which may have her regretting the Japan Tour idea much of next year.

As two-time Grand Slam titlist Pierce knows, playing at one's highest level demands almost all your attention. That's what France's finest player did this year and she reached two Grand Slam finals at the age of 30, no small feat.

"I don't have a lot of time for anything else," Pierce said. "Of course you have moments when you go on vacation and rest, but if you are filling that with other things, it's tough. If you can find your priorities and balance, well then okay, but for me, my tennis has to be the top priority. I don't see it any other way. You need to give it first place."

No one who knows Sharapova sees that she has any other intentions but to be No.1 again, but the fact is, there are a lot of things coming in second place behind priority No. 1. There are marketing teams lining up the turnstiles to get a part of her day. Major sponsors like Motorola, Canon and Nike want some bang for their buck and that doesn't mean just an annual photo shoot.

So even if Sharapova is thinking tennis strategies while the cameras are clicking away in a photo shoot for Vogue, she's not out working on her volley.

But the 18-year-old says she knows when enough is enough.

"You must have that feeling inside," she said. "You must realize what your priority is, how much time you can spend on one certain thing."

In order for Sharapova to become a dominant player in the mold of Serena, she'll have to develop a number of elements to her game that are lacking, like more variety and improved footwork. She'll never be as fast as Williams — who won seven grand Slams titles because other players simply couldn't pass her when she was zoning - but Sharapova could be just a powerful and if she can improve her net game and up a her defense a little, she'll be a factor in every tournament she plays.

But here's the major difference between Serena and Sharapova: Serena didn't become a sex symbol until after she won a series of Slam titles and came to forefront of the publics' attention.

Maria has been the cat's meow since she shrieked her way to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2003.

"It's very flattering," Sharapova said. "I don't necessarily think about it when I step on the court because the only thing I'm thinking about is my tennis. I hope that people come out and watch me for my tennis. But I can't control the reason why they come out. I'm a tennis player. With being a popular tennis player comes a lot of other things. That's part of it."

In order to reach Serena status as a player, the 6-foot-2 Sharapova will have to spend a tremendous amount time toning her body and honing her technique.

She's been working out a ton during the past three weeks, but the right pectoral muscle injury that she sustained a year ago just won't go away and if she can't get rid of it she'll never be able to crunch her forehand and serve like she did when she won Wimbledon in 20004.

Without those two weapons, she could end up being Sabatini — an amazingly talented player who won one Slam and then could never put the pieces back together again and capture another.

"It's been a pretty injured Maria this year," said Sharapova, who won three 2005 titles but hasn't reached a Grand Slam final. "It's been really frustrating. But I've been telling myself that no one s going to be injury free for their whole career. I've been working hard and I took all the negative things out of myself and I believe in myself."

Pierce sees room for concern.

"Physically Maria is young and she already has a decent injury," she said. "She hits a fantastic, heavy hard ball but her technique is not the greatest and that can cause injuries."

Talking technique is not a topic that many young players want to engage in, but talking about the tutors who helped make their strokes is a subject they are well versed in.

Sources say that Sharapova made a very grown up decision recently as she has decided to cut way back on working with the man largely responsible for her killer groundstrokes, L.A.'s Robert Lansdorp - who has worked with her since she was 12.

The gruff Lansdorp also helped develop the games of Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Anastasia Myskina and they all eventually left him once they became more mature women, so Sharapova is following in the footsteps of some very good players before her.

But she will soon be without a man who is willing to tell her when she's slacking off or spending too much time away from the court, and Lansdorp certainly has those concerns. She'll be without a knowledgeable guy who is willing to confront her intense father Yuri over match strategies. She'll be without a no BS guy who sometimes comes on too strong, but who understands how champions are made.

That's a big risk, but one that a self-assured 18-year-old woman seems willing to take.

If Sharapova shares one quality with Serena, it's a tremendous inner pride. They both like to look good, they like too be loved and they both have an incredible amount of confidence in their own games, regardless of the circumstances.

Almost any player who entered the year-end WTA Championships in a field that contains the red hot Kim Clijsters and Davenport - two players who have wasted Sharapova this year — would be shy about picking herself to win the tournament.

But not Sharapova. She may just take that quick visit to Macy's to celebrate the scent she created, but when she returns to the Stales Center, she plans on smelling blood.

Distracted or not, she's the apple of her own eye. So who's going to win the WTA Championships, Maria? "Why would I pick someone else other than me," she asked. "It's not common sense."

Dan23
Nov 9th, 2005, 12:04 AM
I still wish Maria would drop that Japan tour and rest her pec muscle from matchplay for as long as possible :(

Andy.
Nov 9th, 2005, 01:48 AM
Yeah me too i want her healthy. And that article want to encouraging either.

Sweep
Nov 9th, 2005, 03:11 PM
I still wish Maria would drop that Japan tour and rest her pec muscle from matchplay for as long as possible :(

Well said. Promo should take a back seat - Maria needs to rest and get fully fit for the new season.

goldenlox
Nov 9th, 2005, 03:44 PM
The Japan tour is a good thing. She has a lot of products to sell there.
Go there in the off season, get paid, then train for 2006.

Maria Croft
Nov 9th, 2005, 09:05 PM
Yeah relax, have fun, shop and play some pressure free tennis, sounds good to me! :D

goldenlox
Nov 10th, 2005, 03:37 PM
Sharapova puts world domination bid on hold
Wed Nov 9, 2005 9:31 PM GMT


By Matthew Cronin

LOS ANGELES, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Teenager Maria Sharapova has put her plans for world domination on ice, the Russian saying she is not yet strong enough to carry if off.

The 18-year-old briefly reached world number one this year, but she failed to add to her sole grand slam title achieved last year at Wimbledon.

"I don't think I'm ready for it now," Sharapova told Reuters at the WTA Championships on Wednesday.

"I think at some point I may be able to dominate, but honesty, I don't think I'm physically there yet and I don't want to go out there and say I am, when I'm really not."

Sharapova, now ranked three, said she would like to equal the feats of seven-time grand slam champion Serena Williams or the five of Martina Hingis, although she described herself as still a work in progress.

"I grew a few centimeters this year and I'm still getting used to my height," said 6-foot-2-inch Sharapova, who stunned the tennis world by beating Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

"But in the future, dominating is something I would like, but I'm still not where I need to be physically or with my game."

Sharapova earned a three-set victory over Patty Schynder on Monday in the elite-eight WTA Championships, but she will not grab the number one ranking even if she wins the tournament.

Current number one Lindsay Davenport and number two Kim Clijsters are battling it out for the year-end honour.

Although she failed to win one of the game's big four this year, falling in semi-finals to eventual champions Serena Williams in Australia, Venus Williams at Wimbledon and Clijsters at the U.S. Open, she did win three titles.

"There were some matches this year where I lost a little concentration and focus and thought I played some stupid points," Sharapova said.

"But it's about being in those situations and learning from them and although I've played a lot of matches already in my life, I'm still pretty young and have a lot to learn. But I am learning and I think you can see that."

The Florida-based Russian's statistics are impressive, going 52-11 during the season, and had it not been for a right pectoral muscle injury that has dogged her since July, she may still be in the hunt for number one.

"There are times when I do get frustrated, but I don't let the frustrations take over me," she said.

"I try to be positive. There have been a lot of ups and downs this year, especially with the injuries where it's been one thing after another.

"But I've always continued to be tough, because all of my life I've fought for everything that I've had."

After winning Wimbledon in 2004, the attractive blonde cashed in on her success off the court and now earns an estimated $19 million a year, the vast majority of that in off court earnings.

But the Siberian-born Sharapova --- who went to the U.S. at the age of eight with her father and coach Yuri -- says she is keeping her feet firmly on the ground.

She said the other day while walking down Beverly Hills' swank Rodeo drive, she felt completely out of place.

"That's not where I come from," she said. "I know I'm popular and I know people recognise me, but I don't relate to that lifestyle.

"I walk around there and shop, but I don't feel like this is me. That's not where I come from."

Dan23
Nov 10th, 2005, 11:14 PM
The Japan tour is a good thing. She has a lot of products to sell there.
Go there in the off season, get paid, then train for 2006.
Its on December 21-23...there wont be much time for training for 2006 after that since she will be in Australia by the new year for Gold Coast. There will be only 5 weeks after the YEC until Masha goes to Japan. Not a lot of time to firstly get some rest and then work on what she needs to for next year. Her pec injury needs as much time as possible....im sure Masha doesnt want a repeat of this year.

goldenlox
Nov 13th, 2005, 05:41 PM
http://dnaindia.com/images/sharabhvfs.jpgMaria Sharapova -AFP
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http://dnaindia.com/images/greyverticalline.gifSharapova finds enough positives in 2005

AFP
Sunday, November 13, 2005 23:51 IST




LOS ANGELES: Just when Maria Sharapova thought she’d put injury behind her, the nagging chest muscle strain that dogged her in 2005 helped bring her year to an end.

“It is tough when you are 100 percent at the beginning of the tournament, and you feel like everything is all right,” said Sharapova, who had been buoyed by a three-set win over American Lindsay Davenport at the WTA Tour Championships on Wednesday, in which she felt no trace of pain.

“You play a great match, and afterwards, your arm is not feeling great. And when you are not physically 100 percent, it is really difficult to play — especially when the same injury keeps coming back,” she added.

Sharapova, who shot to the forefront of women’s tennis in sensational style with a precocious Wimbledon triumph in 2004, has struggled with the injury for months. Between Wimbledon and the US Open she played just one tournament, conceding a walkover in the quarter-finals at Los Angeles.

After the US Open, she pulled out in mid-match in the semi-finals in Beijing in September, and fell in the quarter-finals in Moscow. She withdrew from Philadelphia the week before the Tour Championships, but that was with a bruised thumb.

And she headed into the season finale feeling fit and capable of defending the title she won here last year, a hope that evaporated as the chest muscle injury began to hinder her serve and forehand as she fell 7-6 (1) 6-3 to Amelie Mauresmo in the semi-finals.

“I think without the injury I was playing great tennis,” Sharapova said. “And I felt like I was in control, so that still gives me a lot of confidence for next year.”

And Sharapova said she still had plenty of good things to take from 2005, notably becoming the first Russian woman to claim the world number one ranking, which she held for one week before the US Open and again from September 12 to October 24.

“I am still working on a lot of things to become a complete player,” she said. “But I think I have learned a lot. Looking back, I think to become number one for as many weeks as I was was an amazing achievement.”

Maria in 2005

Titles: 3 (Tokyo, Doha, Birmingham)
Final: 1 (Miami)
2005 Prize Money: $1,571,283
Match Record: 53-12
Maria also reached the semi-finals at three of the four majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open) and made it to the quarters of French Open.

Greenout
Nov 16th, 2005, 08:14 AM
Tennis: Sharapova Japan tour set for Dec.

(Kyodo) _ World No. 1 Maria Sharapova will make a Japan tour in late December for specially arranged tennis matches and other events including fashion shows, organizers of the tour said Monday.


Sharapova will begin the tour at Osakajo Hall on Dec. 21 and move to Nagoya Sports Complex the next day and Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo on Dec. 23. The tour's main attractions include matches featuring Sharapova and Japan's Ai Sugiyama, fashion shows and tennis clinics for children.


:wavey:

I think everyone here might enjoy this. It's the official website for her
Japan tour. It's really nice.

The tickets aren't cheap. :p

http://maria.tennis365.net/

goldenlox
Nov 19th, 2005, 03:21 PM
Sharapova, Davydenko named Russia's best

November 19, 2005 20:24 IST



Maria Sharapova and Nikolay Davydenko have been named Russia's best players in 2005, the country's tennis federation announced at its annual award gala on Saturday.

This year, Florida-based Sharapova became the first Russian woman to take the world number one spot and she also reached semi-finals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in addition to winning three WTA singles titles.

The 18-year-old Sharapova, who finished the year as number four in the world, pipped Elena Dementieva as Russia's top female player while Ukraine-born Davydenko won the men's award ahead of Igor Andreev and Australian Open champion Marat Safin.

Maria Croft
Nov 19th, 2005, 08:24 PM
Sharapova, Davydenko named Russia's best

November 19, 2005 20:24 IST



Maria Sharapova and Nikolay Davydenko have been named Russia's best players in 2005, the country's tennis federation announced at its annual award gala on Saturday.

This year, Florida-based Sharapova became the first Russian woman to take the world number one spot and she also reached semi-finals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in addition to winning three WTA singles titles.

The 18-year-old Sharapova, who finished the year as number four in the world, pipped Elena Dementieva as Russia's top female player while Ukraine-born Davydenko won the men's award ahead of Igor Andreev and Australian Open champion Marat Safin.


Go Maria! :yeah:

Steve-o
Nov 24th, 2005, 09:56 PM
Nice quotes from Teen Vogue


"I lived in a dorm at a tennis academy with all older girls. I was the youngest - totally skinny and tiny - so I got picked on," she says. "But I ended up kicking their butts on the court, so it all worked out. They weren't too happy about that." :rolls:

In addition to community service (she volunteers her time to the Boys & Girls Club of America) and studying (she's three credits away from graduating high school), Maria enjoys mastering languages, from English and her native Russian to Spanish and French - which may come in handy for when she fufills one of her next goals. "I can't wait to take a vacation and head to St.-Tropez," says the tennis phenom. "Like every other teen, I need a break!" :worship:

nouf
Nov 24th, 2005, 10:47 PM
Maria enjoys mastering languages, from English and her native Russian to Spanish and French
she wants i can to learn french to her! :-)

in private sure!

nouf
Nov 24th, 2005, 10:47 PM
"I can't wait to take a vacation and head to St.-Tropez" me too i will be there! lol

goldenlox
Nov 25th, 2005, 03:25 PM
http://img1.eurosport.com/imgbk/tennis/all/big_md-i196707.jpg

Sydney International tournament organisers are hopeful of attracting world number four Maria Sharapova, but the Russian appears to have chosen the Gold Coast event as preparation for the Australian Open starting on 15 January.

Tournament director Craig Watson remained hopeful Sharapova would post her entry form for the Sydney before the first week of December.

If the 18-year-old Wastson said he would sound out her management.

"I'm waiting on the first drop of my official playing list and I'm hopeful she has committed for Sydney," Watson said.

"It is not something we have gone after, but if she is not on the list and she's playing at the Gold Coast, we'd very much like to attract her to Sydney. It would be a wild-card situation, but live in hope that she feels it fits into her commitments."

Maria Croft
Nov 25th, 2005, 08:12 PM
http://img1.eurosport.com/imgbk/tennis/all/big_md-i196707.jpg

Sydney International tournament organisers are hopeful of attracting world number four Maria Sharapova, but the Russian appears to have chosen the Gold Coast event as preparation for the Australian Open starting on 15 January.

Tournament director Craig Watson remained hopeful Sharapova would post her entry form for the Sydney before the first week of December.

If the 18-year-old Wastson said he would sound out her management.

"I'm waiting on the first drop of my official playing list and I'm hopeful she has committed for Sydney," Watson said.

"It is not something we have gone after, but if she is not on the list and she's playing at the Gold Coast, we'd very much like to attract her to Sydney. It would be a wild-card situation, but live in hope that she feels it fits into her commitments."


Yeah, and Hell just froze over :rolleyes:

~lollipop_girl~
Nov 26th, 2005, 06:27 AM
Yeah, and Hell just froze over :rolleyes:

Yeah I know, which sucks coz I'm going to Sydney!

Josh B.
Nov 26th, 2005, 09:33 AM
wooooo!!!