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~SunFlower~
Feb 8th, 2004, 03:57 PM
Teen tennis star Sharapova insists she's more than just looks
Attractive Drawing Card

By Zack McMillin
Contact
February 8, 2004

The picture shows a blond teenage girl, an athlete, dressed in a hot pink one-piece outfit that barely covers her lap.

She is tilted sideways in the tennis chair, her right leg - long and tan - lifted over the chair's arm, exposing the pink spandex underneath.

She is also undeniably attractive, a girl dubbed by one tennis broadcaster as the Siberian Siren and whose natural good looks have drawn comparisons to fellow Russian sensation Anna Kournikova.

She is Maria Sharapova - 16 years old, ranked as the 27th-best women's tennis player in the world, a client of IMG, the influential agency, as a tennis player and a model.

And she is coming to Memphis.

That sultry picture of Sharapova is featured on many of the advertisements - billboards, print advertisements, Web sites - The Racquet Club has produced to promote next week's women's tennis tournament, the Cellular South Cup, Feb. 15-21.

"Let's face it," says Mac Winker, owner of The Racquet Club, "If you are a really attractive person and happen to be a good athlete, you have a leg up."

Winker is hoping Sharapova helps boost attendance and revenue at Memphis's annual professional tennis event. The women's tournament is in its third year as a companion event to the 28-year-old Kroger St. Jude men's tournament. It's probably most well-known for the one player who did not play the past two years - Kournikova.

The tournament had wrapped its marketing around Kournikova in 2002 and 2003, but she was unable to play either year because of injury. Now retired from competitive tennis, Kournikova did make an appearance at the tournament and at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last year. She is scheduled to make another appearance this year on Feb. 16. :confused:

Sharapova, because she is blond, from Russia and an aspiring model, has heard the Kourni-clone comparisons, ad nauseum. She has rejected them, not least because Kournikova, now 22, never won a professional tournament.

Sharapova already has two tournament titles.

"I'm not the next anyone,'' Sharapova has said. "I'm the first Maria Sharapova."

In a recent story in USA Today, Sharapova said: "If people want me to be a tennis babe, I'm sorry. I'm not going to be that."

Indeed, Sharapova has plenty of admirers whose sole concern is tennis.

Among them is her coach, Robert Lansdorp, known for his tutelage of stars like Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Pete Sampras.

Lansdorp told Sports Illustrated that Sharapova has "that quality of a champion: She plays without fear."

Another of her mentors is Nick Bollettieri, whose famous tennis school in Florida has produced many of tennis's stars, including Andre Agassi and Jim Courier. He, too, rejects the comparisons to Kournikova.

"The similarity I see is that they are both good looking, but Maria really is very different," Bollettieri told reporters in Toronto last summer. "She has more firepower and a different mentality than Anna. She could bend a steel nail, she is so tough."

It was Bollettieri who accepted the 6-year-old Maria into his school a decade ago, after her father, Yuri, brought her to the United States with $1,000 in his pocket and no English-language skills. Shara pova was born in western Siberia, in a town called Nyagan. Afraid of problems associated with Chernobyl, her family moved to Sochi, a resort town on the Black Sea.

Sharapova spent two years away from her mother, who was unable to secure a visa to join her family in Bradenton, Fla., at Bollettieri's school.

"I think Russians might be tougher than other people," Sharapova told a London newspaper.

"When I arrived in America, I was young, but I knew what I wanted. I think that when you start from nothing, when you come from nothing, it makes you hungry."

Sharapova comes to Memphis having played in two tournaments so far this season, the Australian Open (third-round loss to Anastasia Myskina) and the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo last week (second-round loss to Daniela Hantuchova).

Because of her age, Sharapova's playing schedule is limited.

Winker and The Racquet Club are thrilled to have her in the draw, to say the least.

"She's definitely the No. 1 sought-after young player in the world and absolutely the No. 1 up-and-comer," said Winker.

Sharapova will participate in a fashion show with local models Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Racquet Club.

PointBlank
Feb 8th, 2004, 04:15 PM
I am a ball kid on Friday night :) I can go see Masha

Edward.
Feb 8th, 2004, 04:26 PM
What pic was he talking about? :confused:

PointBlank
Feb 8th, 2004, 04:54 PM
Now retired from competitive tennis, Kournikova did make an appearance at the tournament and at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last year. She is scheduled to make another appearance this year on Feb. 16. :confused:
She came last year for like 3 days and presented a check to St.Jude the day she got here and spent the rest of the time checking out the St.Jude facility

She never came and watched matches ... maybe she will stay this year for Masha but if she stayed last year she stayed in a box at the top like Mandy Moore did

~SunFlower~
Feb 8th, 2004, 05:26 PM
She came last year for like 3 days and presented a check to St.Jude the day she got here and spent the rest of the time checking out the St.Jude facility

She never came and watched matches ... maybe she will stay this year for Masha but if she stayed last year she stayed in a box at the top like Mandy Moore did

Yes, but it says that Anna has retired from competitive tennis. That's what I am confused about. :confused:

You really think Anna will stay for Masha??? :lol: You are funny.... but you might be right... I read another article saying that Maria's scheduled to play her first match on Feb 16th for the night session. So far, she will be seeded 3rd in the main draw and no first round byes for 3rd and 4th seeded, otherwise she would be seeded 4th if Chanda might get in with exempt wildcard.

~SunFlower~
Feb 8th, 2004, 05:27 PM
I am a ball kid on Friday night :) I can go see Masha

Hope you have lots of fun for the whole great week! You might want to check Maria modelling in a fashion show on Friday. ;)

~SunFlower~
Feb 8th, 2004, 05:30 PM
What pic was he talking about? :confused:

http://mas.scripps.com/MCA/2004/02/08/0208s8maria_e.jpg

A big post was put up there outside at the tennis club, did you see it, PointBlank?

Darop.
Feb 8th, 2004, 06:48 PM
Is this thread necessary? :confused:

maccardel
Feb 8th, 2004, 08:29 PM
Hope you have lots of fun for the whole great week! You might want to check Maria modelling in a fashion show on Friday. ;)
who the hell is Masha? C'mon with all these damn names!!! Some of you act as if you know these players personally. First it was JuJu and then some messed up name for Kim and Jennifer ( Capster) Call the players by their names already!!!

I could understand RENA for Serena and Vee for Venus, Masha? What the hell is that? I could have sworn you were talking about mash potatoes. I just don't see where Maria relates to mash potatoes or mash anything in that case.

If you wanna start calling people names, why not call Chanda Rubin - And_a_rub_in........or why not call Alexandra stevenson, Alex_and_steve's_son?

Go Figure, you posters amaze me sometimes..I tell ya!!!

esquímaux
Feb 8th, 2004, 08:35 PM
who the hell is Masha? C'mon with all these damn names!!! Some of you act as if you know these players personally. First it was JuJu and then some messed up name for Kim and Jennifer ( Capster) Call the players by their names already!!!

I could understand RENA for Serena and Vee for Venus, Masha? What the hell is that? I could have sworn you were talking about mash potatoes. I just don't see where Maria relates to mash potatoes or mash anything in that case.

If you wanna start calling people names, why not call Chanda Rubin - And_a_rub_in........or why not call Alexandra stevenson, Alex_and_steve's_son?

Go Figure, you posters amaze me sometimes..I tell ya!!!

I prefer Cappy :angel:

maccardel
Feb 8th, 2004, 08:41 PM
What name would you chose for Chanda?

for-sure
Feb 8th, 2004, 11:14 PM
How do you know I don't know these players personally...
Just the other night I got an e-mail from JUJU followed by a telephone call from Capster followed by a visit from Masha. Rena and Vee came over too, but we turned off all the lights and didn't open the door. Oh, and Aloyna cut herself with a knife making french fries, her cry woke Momo up.

beauty_is_pink
Feb 8th, 2004, 11:32 PM
What pic was he talking about? :confused: ha eddy! i knew you would wander into here!! :rolleyes:

Joana
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:17 AM
In Russia, Masha is a VERY common nickname for Maria, just like Jenny for Jennifer in USA. I don't see a problem with that.

And BTW, "a" in Masha isn't spelled like "a" in "mash", rather like "a" in "start".

Havok
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:28 AM
:yawn: im the first Maria Sharapova. how many times is she gonna say this? and how long will it take her to figure out a different way of saying it

IIOoIaMaGirLoOII
Feb 9th, 2004, 01:04 AM
:yawn: im the first Maria Sharapova. how many times is she gonna say this? and how long will it take her to figure out a different way of saying itwhat do you expect from her?? she's only 16.. :)

Leo_DFP
Feb 9th, 2004, 01:36 AM
She must be either not confident or desperate for a title if she's going to play Memphis over Antwerp.

IIOoIaMaGirLoOII
Feb 9th, 2004, 02:02 AM
she's there because of the weak field.. she only got her titles because of the weak no-name field.. :)

FLL
Feb 9th, 2004, 02:07 AM
she's there because of the weak field.. she only got her titles because of the weak no-name field.. :)
Who cares? Did she win the titles? Damn right she did. Even if she would've beaten your ugly grand mother, it would count as a title win :tape: :rolleyes: :lol:

Masharapova
Feb 9th, 2004, 03:01 AM
:) masha :)

Volcana
Feb 9th, 2004, 03:16 AM
I'm not even a fan of Sharapova and to me, these responses are absurd.

She must be either not confident or desperate for a title if she's going to play Memphis over Antwerp.How about, her management is smart, realizes she's 16 and inexperienced, and would benefit more from making the finals of a Tier IV than bouncing out early in a Tier II? Money isn't an issue for her anymore. So all that's important is giving her a schedule that results in her being the best she can. I cannot think of any sport where the best way to develop young talent is considered to be throwing them in week in and week out against the toughest possible competition. That has a much better chance of wrecking their confidence than helping it.

You don't take a pro boxer in his 1st or 2nd year and put him in against the #1 contender.

You don't take a high school quarterback and play him vs pros.

she's there because of the weak field.. she only got her titles because of the weak no-name field.. :)Is it even worth bothering listing all the players who NEVER win a WTA tournament? Word to the wise. Most pros NEVER win a WTA tournament, ANY WTA tournament, weak field or no.

Personally, I think Sharapova is more hype than substance. But you can believe that while respecting her choices and accomplishments. Except for needlessly pushing to get her into more tournament thanthe AER allows, her management has done a fine job, and so has she, so far.

PointBlank
Feb 9th, 2004, 03:54 AM
I didnt see the billboard even though I think I know where that is

She is outside the Racquet Club on a poster with Andy though on the fence

Leo_DFP
Feb 9th, 2004, 03:56 AM
I'm not even a fan of Sharapova and to me, these responses are absurd.

How about, her management is smart, realizes she's 16 and inexperienced, and would benefit more from making the finals of a Tier IV than bouncing out early in a Tier II? Money isn't an issue for her anymore. So all that's important is giving her a schedule that results in her being the best she can. I cannot think of any sport where the best way to develop young talent is considered to be throwing them in week in and week out against the toughest possible competition. That has a much better chance of wrecking their confidence than helping it.
Get crushed by the competition? She's had good results in large events and has beaten/challenged some real solid players.

I don't think it's neccessary for her to travel to another one of these small events since she already won two of them last year. She's not going to make much improvement anymore by playing Tier IV's; I think she can learn more how to raise her game from playing (and yes, possibly losing to) good, legitimate players. Playing a Tier II would be a good indicator of where she stands and what improvements she must make in her game to take that next step.

PointBlank
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:01 AM
Actually Memphis is a Tier 3

Leo_DFP
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:02 AM
Oh, well it's weak.

LUIS9
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:18 AM
I have to agree with both Volcana and Leo D, looking at Sharapova's logic of choosing what tournie next to play she considered whether i want to get crushed by Kim or Justine at a tier 2 packed with top 10 players or do i play a tier 3 and make a final and possibly win it? At first sight it seems like a logical decision however, she will not gain much more than match play and toughness perhaps from doing so. She's not really going to gain experience or improve by playing a tier 3 where she's bound to be favorite or co favorite at the very least one of the top contenders. She should start playing more tier 2's perhaps the smaller ones like scottsdale but i think it got eliminated this year where not all the top 10 play to still get cllalenged and still give her self a chance at bigger titles. Her ranking wont improve very much by playing these tier 3's anyways if thats what shes looking for? Nonetheless unless she balances out her schedule, and plays more tier2s and higher ranked tier3's i dont see her improving very much, of course she cant aspire to win tier 1s and big tier 2's like LA and Filderstadt, because at this point in her career shes still too young and not seasoned enough to know how to win those kind of tournies, she may be a good young player very solid, but she's no prodigy. Besides her body is still developing so she can still give herself perhaps another yr or yr and a half before she aspires to enter the top 10 and remain there competitively. Her game is simply not there yet, nor close to being a challenge to those currently in the top 10.

~ The Leopard ~
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:38 AM
Mash... er, I mean Ms Sharapova...is only 16. It's not a bad idea to bring her on fairly slowly. I think that's a lesson we can take from how things have worked out so far for Ms Kournikova. She should play a few tournaments where she won't be confronted by the likes of Madame Henin-Hardenne or Mademoiselle Mauresmo. ;)

Volcana
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:55 AM
She's 16, and has already won two WTA tournaments. That is NOT usual.

Her management team, so far, has done a good job. I feelthey no better thanany of us what's best for her. If you feel they've done a POOR job so far, then sure, change what they have her doing. But so far, her results are the best of any sixteen year old since Hingis.

Why assume that the way she's being handled is flawed?

IIOoIaMaGirLoOII
Feb 9th, 2004, 05:28 AM
youre right.. she is only 16 and has two titles to her name.. she is smart to play the weaker fields and have a greater chance to get another title.. :)

pav
Feb 9th, 2004, 08:21 AM
Sharapova's certainly not the highest -ranked player confirmed there[ You'd think so with all the carry-on about Her!] She's not even the highest -ranked Russian

VeraNuVirgosFan
Feb 10th, 2004, 05:55 AM
I've read most of the posts in this thread, and I have nothing to say. But I just want to post a quote from Masha.

What MARIA SHARAPOVA said after losing to Myskina at the Australian Open:

“I think maybe lacking a little bit of experience in those kind of matches. Not just experience, but I feel that I'm still sort of like missing something. I think it's just going to take just time, just to get me ready.

Those kind of things, I think will just take experience, just things here and there.

It takes a lot of time. And I know that. I'm just going to be very patient.”

VeraNuVirgosFan
Feb 10th, 2004, 09:18 AM
What pic was he talking about?
http://mariaworld.net/scan19.jpg

the cat
Feb 10th, 2004, 03:39 PM
Well said Volcana and Jouissant. :) Maria is off to a bit of a slow start this year and playing Memphis gives her a chance to pick up her game and confidence.