PDA

View Full Version : Sharapova Is New Focus


tennisIlove09
Jun 11th, 2003, 08:01 AM
SHARAPOVA IS NEW FOCUS
By Ian Laybourn, PA Sport

Click here for all the latest tennis results
Click here for all the latest tennis news


Rising star Maria Sharapova helped to fill the void created by the sudden departure of Anna Kournikova on and off court at the DFS Classic in Birmingham.

In the absence of Kournikova, who has returned to Miami for further treatment on a persistent back injury, the battery of photographers trained their lens on the leggy 16-year-old blonde from Serbia.

And, while Kournikova's career continues to nosedive, Sharapova intends to maintain her remarkable climb until she reaches the pinnacle of the sport.

Already, she promises to be the name on everyone's lips at Wimbledon after she underlined her growing reputation with a quickfire win at the Edgbaston Priory on Tuesday.

The glamorous teenager took just 52 minutes to inflict a 6-1 6-1 first-round defeat on another Russian, Evgenia Koulikovskaya, who is 34 places higher in the world rankings.

The Florida-based Sharapova, ranked 125 in the world, had to win through three qualifying rounds to reach the main draw in both the Australian and French Opens but she is expected to be handed a wild card for Wimbledon.

And fans at the All England Club could be in for a treat if Sharapova plays half as well as she talks.

"I've always wanted to be number one in the world," she said, oozing confidence at a news conference in Birmingham. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a little girl."

Sharapova, who was recommended by Martina Navratilova at the age of six to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, comes across as a level-headed youngster with a steely determination to achieve her goals.

And she insists that she will not be diverted from her aims nor go off the rails in the way that prevented Andrea Jaeger and Tracy Austin from achieving their full potential.

"I'm in control," she said. "If I don't want to do something, I won't do it. I'm a very independent person. I know what I want and how to achieve it."

Inevitably, Sharapova has been dubbed "the new Kournikova" and an appearance in Vanity Fair suggests she loves the attention but she is quick to play down comparisons with her famous compatriot.

"I don't really mind, I go with the flow," she said. "There is nothing I can do about it. I'm not the next anyone, I'm the first me."

Sharapova, who was due to play Kournikova in the semi-finals of a tournament in Georgia two months ago before injury intervened, not only has the curvaceous body of Daniela Hantuchova but possesses a grunt of which Monica Seles would be proud.

Her screeches echoed around the Edgbaston complex and inevitably provoked questions on the subject at the post-match conference.

"Some people think that I do it on purpose but I don't," she said. "I've been doing it since I was three years old and so it's hard for me to stop."

Sharapova is in good company in Birmingham, where Elena Dementieva is top seed, but number four seed Elena Bovina, from Moscow, made a surprise exit at the hands of a girl 81 places below her in the world rankings.

Japan's Shinobu Asagoe reached the last 16 with a 6-3 6-3 win over the 22nd world-ranked Bovina on Centre Court but it was a mere blip in the Russian revolution.

"There are a lot of good Russians coming through and it's very competitive," added Sharapova. "It's great to be part of it."

Veteran American Lisa Raymond, who also reached the last 16 on Tuesday, said: "I don't know what they're putting in the water in Russia but they're producing an awful lot of players."

Raymond, 29, who won the Birmingham title three years ago, is convinced that women's tennis in general is in a healthy state, particularly after the defeat of Serena Williams at Roland Garros.

"It's in an incredible state," she said. "There are players out there who can beat the Williams sisters on a consistent basis, which is great for the game.

"There is a lot of depth and a lot of different personalities."

British tennis, unfortunately, shows little sign of catching up on the rest of the world.

Jane O'Donoghue, the British number five from Wigan, was left to fly the flag single-handedly when British champion Anne Keothavong pulled out through injury.

The Hackney-born Keothavong, 19, has failed to recover from a wrist injury she sustained in reaching the last four of the Surbiton Trophy last week and joined Elena Baltacha on the sidelines.

O'Donoghue was due to play number three seed Magdelena Maleeva, from Bulgaria, in the second round on Tuesday when the heavens opened and sent both players scurrying for shelter.



Although the rain stopped by 5pm, the courts were drenched and play was abandoned for the d

Glenn
Jun 11th, 2003, 08:09 AM
Sharapova, who was due to play Kournikova in the semi-finals of a tournament in Georgia two months ago before injury intervened, not only has the curvaceous body of Daniela Hantuchova

OK that's horrible! :o

salima
Jun 11th, 2003, 09:43 AM
the battery of photographers trained their lens on the leggy 16-year-old blonde from Serbia.


That´s also horrible. spell after me Ian Layborn: S I B E R I A, sibir

Thank you for posting :)

selesfan
Jun 11th, 2003, 10:30 AM
Sharapova seems to play a lot of tournaments for a 16 year old, what is the limit for a 16 year old? :confused:

*JR*
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Raymond, 29, who won the Birmingham title three years ago, is convinced that women's tennis in general is in a healthy state, particularly after the defeat of Serena Williams at Roland Garros.

"It's in an incredible state," she said. "There are players out there who can beat the Williams sisters on a consistent basis, which is great for the game.

"There is a lot of depth and a lot of different personalities."


B4 Lisa gets labeled as a Williams hater, let me (one who took Serena's side pretty firmly re. something debated here re. RG) put the above in what I think is the right perspective. The key word IMO is "can". In fact I think Serena herself would interpret that as a "wake-up call" to raise her consistency, like the undefeated year thing was a goal, not a prediction. IMO in any sport, re. uncertain outcomes, one could borrow a phrase from a just-indicted :eek: home decorating diva: "That's a good thing". ;)

the cat
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:48 AM
Maria Sharapova d. Nathalie Dechy 6-3 6-2 today in the second round at Birmingham. :D This is Maria's biggest win to date. Well done Maria! :bounce:

Rtael
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:49 AM
WTF? I sick of all this fucking hype for a loser who's barely winning maindraw matches. The only reason she gets so much fucking attention is because she has a pretty face and she's being hyped by whatever huge agency she has standing behind her handing her WCs left and right. How about a story about Karolina Sprem who's not quite as pretty but higher ranked, only 2 years older, and already having beaten a top 10 player and another ranked n. 11? The only wildcards she ever received into events were in the little tourny at Bol and she worked her way up and is a much better player then Sharapova by now. She doesn't deserve all this damn attention for nothing! :fiery: :o :mad: :fiery: :rolleyes:

If they keep hyping her up like this, can we say Kournikova II?

Jordan.
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:50 AM
2 years is a big difference...

*JR*
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:51 AM
Poor Placid Parisian. :sad: (Perfectly Passive Player)! :rolleyes:

Rtael
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:52 AM
2 years is bullshit *rolleyes*

the cat
Jun 11th, 2003, 12:27 PM
What are you whining about Rtael? It's great that Sperm is doing so well! :D But if Sprem had the outstanding 12u, 14u, 16u and 18u junior career that Sharapova had, she would have been well known a couple of years ago. There is no doubt that Maria has struggled. But she is limited to the number of tournaments she can play while Sprem plays many more tournaments than Maria does and that has led to Sprem's fine play this year.

Sammm
Jun 11th, 2003, 12:30 PM
Maria won. What a huge win! I'd like to see her and Bartoli play.

Monica_Rules
Jun 11th, 2003, 01:40 PM
Maria is the real deal believe me i saw her play yesterday and she ripped her opponent appart with fantastic shots and a big serve.I'm not suprised at all at her beating Dechy she could do some major damage here!

auntie janie
Jun 11th, 2003, 02:24 PM
This is by far Maria's best win, as the cat said. I was beginning to think the girl was all hype, but Dechy is a good scalp.
Now let's see if she can build on this win and slowly reach a Tennis level more in accord with her overblown Publicity level.

kournikovafan13
Jun 11th, 2003, 03:18 PM
WTF? I sick of all this fucking hype for a loser who's barely winning maindraw matches. The only reason she gets so much fucking attention is because she has a pretty face and she's being hyped by whatever huge agency she has standing behind her handing her WCs left and right. How about a story about Karolina Sprem who's not quite as pretty but higher ranked, only 2 years older, and already having beaten a top 10 player and another ranked n. 11? The only wildcards she ever received into events were in the little tourny at Bol and she worked her way up and is a much better player then Sharapova by now. She doesn't deserve all this damn attention for nothing! :fiery: :o :mad: :fiery: :rolleyes:

If they keep hyping her up like this, can we say Kournikova II?

Ok, since when has Sprem beaten two players in the top 12? Only Dokic. So come up with your other one.

the cat
Jun 11th, 2003, 03:42 PM
Come on Janie! Maria needs to play for a couple of years on the WTA Tour before any final judgements are made.

auntie janie
Jun 11th, 2003, 03:55 PM
I know, i should not have started to get disillusioned with a 16-year-old. I would never have thought a thing about it one way or the other, but the hype and the high-profile WCs, while she deserves them far more than Tatiana Golovin does, seem to turn me against her quite easily. I can't stand Golovin, yet all I know about her is the fancy WCs that have been thrown at her (IW, Miami, Roland Garros) despite a singular lack of wins anywhere. For all I know Tatiana is a true saint, though judging from a pic posted on the Challenger forum, she seems to practice in her panties without a skirt. But based on her hype and the aggressive pushing her agents are doing, she is the only so-called "French" player I actively root AGAINST. Boo Tatiana! :p

Logical or not, cat, that's me. I just can't stand hype that precedes any tennis results. And the doling out of WCs based seemingly on the sex appeal and marketing potential of 14, 15, and 16-year-olds is revolting.

Maria is caught in this net, too, cat. But I don't dislike her. I await her amazing results that we have heard about for years now. Best of luck to her in keeping her priorities straight; we don't need another Daniela. :sad:

Crazy Canuck
Jun 11th, 2003, 03:58 PM
Logical or not, cat, that's me. I just can't stand hype that precedes any tennis results. And the doling out of WCs based seemingly on the sex appeal and marketing potential of 14, 15, and 16-year-olds is revolting.

Bingo. That's why I root against her ;) I know, I know, I'm a horrible person :angel:

Crazy Canuck
Jun 11th, 2003, 04:00 PM
The only reason she gets so much fucking attention is because she has a pretty face and she's being hyped by whatever huge agency she has standing behind her handing her WCs left and right

Yep. And maybe if she wasn't 5 I wouldn't find the entire thing so bloody disgusting.

auntie janie
Jun 11th, 2003, 04:10 PM
She's 16, not 5, but I agree. ;)

Crazy Canuck
Jun 11th, 2003, 04:13 PM
She's 16, not 5, but I agree. ;)
16, 5, it's just as disgusting!

the cat
Jun 11th, 2003, 07:41 PM
As long Maria conentrates on her tennis instead of the media and being a star, everything will be fine. She is often compared to Anna Kournikova. But Maria's game reminds me of Daniela Hantuchova's game. Maria is almost as tall as Dani. And she has long flat ground strokes like Dani. But she can't yest serve and volley with Dani. But that will come in time.

And it's up to IMG to take good care of Maria and not over expose her the way they did Anna Kournikova.