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tennisIlove09
May 28th, 2004, 10:21 PM
Sharapova busts Kournikova comparisons
Beats Zvonareva in a field packed with Russians

By Matthew Cronin
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http://www.********************/tr.net_photos_art/SHARAPOVA_sm_rg_04_comp.jpg
Susan and Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA


FROM ROLAND GARROS – The problem with being Maria Sharapova is the constant Anna Kournikova comparisons. The Russian is quite over them, but some scribes aren't, so she'll likely have to deal with them until she wins her first Grand Slam.

That time could be coming much faster than anyone anticipated it would. On Friday, the 17-year-old striking blonde with butch strokes scored perhaps the biggest win of her yearling career, taking down 10th-seed Vera Zvonareva, 6-3 7-6(3) to gain the fourth round of Roland Garros.

The 18th-seeded Sharapova is now looking at two matches she should win if she plays up to her level: against unseeded Marlene Weingartner in the fourth round and then very likely against No. 14 seed Paola Suarez in the quarters. Should she triumph, she'll equal Kournikova's achievement as a 17-year-old: reaching the semis of a Grand Slam. In 1997, Kournikova volleyed her way to the Wimbledon semis, a feat the now semi-retired glamour girl never matched again.

Sharapova and Kournikova have their similarities: Both were coached by Nick Bollettieri when they first arrived in the US, both signed modeling contracts at a very early age and both are lorded over by a controlling parent – Anna by her mother, Alla; and Maria by her father and part-coach, Yuri. Like Kournikova, who has now lived in the US for 15 of her 23 years, Sharapova is also considered to be just as American than Russian by many of her peers as she's lived in the States since she's been nine and speaks English with only a slight accent.

But the differences between the two are also obvious. Off-court, Kournikova is more mistrustful and it takes one years to get her to come out behind her defensive shell. When the so-called world's sexiest athlete has decided that that you are not out to destroy her, she can be delightful. But when she thinks you are out to get her, she transforms into an ice princess with fangs.

Although Sharapova has undergone a tremendous amount of media training and can be stilted in her responses, she is more polite and makes a big attempt to be engaging. Her sometimes-glassy-eyed-stare is troubling, but, at least at this point in her career, it's easy to perceive that she's not faking when she says that her results and improvement are of primary importance to her.

"She's always been composed," said her agent, Max Eisenburg, who has know her since she's been 11. "She's just a very nice girl."

WON A TOURNAMENT – NO, MAKE THAT TWO
Sharapova came to the world's attention last year when she shrieked her way to the fourth round of Wimbledon. And she quickly went where Kournikova has never gone before – to the trophy stands in Japan and Quebec to collect her winner's crowns.

But she has struggled some in her sophomore year, both off-court, where she has gone on a bit of coaching merry-go-round, and on, where every time she made a push at a tournament, the elite players would get the best of her. That occurred in Memphis, where Zvonareva outlasted her; at Indian Wells, where Anastasia Myskina wiped her out; in Miami, where Serena Williams knocked her down; and in Berlin, when Jennifer Capriati outlasted her.

http://www.********************/tr.net_photos_art/ZVONAREVA_sm_rg_04_bh.jpg
Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA
Zvonareva was tough for two sets … but not tough enough for Sharapova.

That's why her French Open win over Zvonareva meant so much. After spending most of the match with her gloves off and taking it to her all-business foe with huge cuts off the ground, she sputtered toward the end of the second set, double faulting when attempting to serve the match out at 6-5. But in the tiebreak, she let loose and ripped five winners. After winning the match, she let out a loud shriek and pumped her first toward Yuri, Eisenberg and her new traveling coach, former ATP player, Mauricio Hadad.

"It was a real breakthrough win for me," Sharapova said. "I've had a few matches in the past where I was in that kind of situation and didn't finish the match off when I needed to," she said.

DAD IS MUM, FOR NOW
Yuri wouldn't talk about his daughter's victory, but did say he would speak"only after she wins the tournament."

That is certainly premature to say about a teenager who didn't' grow up on clay and who admittedly is lacking in upper body strength. As fellow Russian Nadia Petrova said, it's easier for Sharapova now because all the top players haven't seen her but the further she goes, the pressure and eyes on her will increase.

Sharapova's longtime guru, Robert Lansdorp, has said that it could take her another year or so to challenge the Top-5 players such as the Williams sisters and the Belgians. But Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters aren't in the draw and Serena and Venus are on the other side of the draw. Lansdorp never mentioned Amelie Mauresmo or Lindsay Davenport, one of whom Sharapova could face in the semis.

Who know, Maria may just may eclipse Anna by next Saturday by reaching the Roland Garros final.

"I don't think anything can stop me unless I lose," Maria laughed. "So far, I couldn't be more confident. But I just want to look toward the next round."

But there's one thing that Sharapova is sure of: She's not Anna. She's just Maria: not semi-retired, not traipsing all over the world arm-in-arm with pop star Enrique Iglesias or planning on playing an exhibition during the second week of a Grand Slam. She's a determined teen who's learning on the job and plans to make her own history on court.

"Everyone wants to be themselves and don't want to be compared to anyone,' she said. "Every individual is different and so I am."

selesfan87
May 28th, 2004, 10:35 PM
IMO, doubting Lindsay or Amelie is a BIG mistake.

Tennisace
May 28th, 2004, 10:35 PM
I don't mean to be mean or anything but I would say that Anna is much more "Russian" than Sharapova. Calling Sharapova Russian is a misnomer...she's American. I'm pretty sure that she has never played for Russia (Fed Cup, junior team events, etc.) under the Russian flag.

Havok
May 28th, 2004, 10:45 PM
:yawn:

Black Mamba.
May 28th, 2004, 10:47 PM
She is good and all, but when she won her first tournement she busted the comparison so saying this again is really pointless.

fammmmedspin
May 28th, 2004, 10:56 PM
Silly comparison. Apart from the Kournikova lack of a tournament Anna is still way ahead if you look at rankings or the ranking of the players she beat. The question is if maria keeps on going whether she will do even better and have a longer career.

thelittlestelf
May 28th, 2004, 11:03 PM
It's pretty insulting to Anna that people forget that she does have a good work ethic. She built her tennis career out of nothing and beat bigger names than Sharapova has. Just because she's pretty and easily distracted doesnt mean that she was never good at playing tennis, and that's basically what this article states.

Eurotennisfan
May 28th, 2004, 11:05 PM
Anna is going to be hard to live up to. Any Russian player would kill for Anna's record right now! She still is the best one.

Black Mamba.
May 28th, 2004, 11:07 PM
It seems to me that any blonde attractive Russian is dubbed the next Anna?

charmedRic
May 29th, 2004, 01:43 AM
It's pretty insulting to Anna that people forget that she does have a good work ethic. She built her tennis career out of nothing and beat bigger names than Sharapova has. Just because she's pretty and easily distracted doesnt mean that she was never good at playing tennis, and that's basically what this article states.
I totally agree.

G-O-B
May 29th, 2004, 02:21 AM
I never really have got the kournikova/sharapova comparisons. their games are so different

G-O-B
May 29th, 2004, 02:23 AM
anna was a real contender years ago. it's weird how completely fragile she became mentally-- that serve! :eek:

i miss her, her game was quite lovely

peanuts
May 29th, 2004, 03:00 AM
anna's looks had both been a gift and a curse for her...for some people they could never see beyond her looks..she used to be a good tennis player but all people remember now is how she never won a title...she's quite unlucky in that sense...but i have a feeling she really don't care that much about what other people think of her tennis career..she's had a good and easy life now because of tennis...and girls around the world envy her fame...

peanuts
May 29th, 2004, 03:06 AM
i guess its easy for people like us who seriously follow tennis to see the big difference between anna and maria but for the press and the casual fans...all they see are their looks...they're both attractive, blonde and russian...

sharapova is different from kournikova but it doesn't necessarily mean she's a better player as of now...she still has long way to go before she reach anna's star status...i just wonder what good it will do to her TENNIS career ;)

Lucy
May 29th, 2004, 03:43 AM
lets face it.. anyone who is blonde will be compared to kournikova. even if the comparison is far from it. its just stupid.:retard:

Kart
May 29th, 2004, 03:49 AM
Beating Zvonereva is not a breakthrough but it is a step in the right direction.

Sharapova is getting better but she's still not done anything much more than Anna (aside from winning a title I know :rolleyes: ) so the comparisons are not that unreasonable IMHO.

Anna has shown herself to be a very good player, nothing wrong with being likened to that.

darrinbaker00
May 29th, 2004, 03:52 AM
It's pretty insulting to Anna that people forget that she does have a good work ethic. She built her tennis career out of nothing and beat bigger names than Sharapova has. Just because she's pretty and easily distracted doesnt mean that she was never good at playing tennis, and that's basically what this article states.
Correction: Anna HAD a good work ethic. If she's well enough to play exhibitions and World Team Tennis, then she's well enough to play on tour.

tenn_ace
May 29th, 2004, 03:52 AM
I don't mean to be mean or anything but I would say that Anna is much more "Russian" than Sharapova. Calling Sharapova Russian is a misnomer...she's American. I'm pretty sure that she has never played for Russia (Fed Cup, junior team events, etc.) under the Russian flag.

but she said time and time again that she does feel Russian and will be thrilled to play for Russia when she called.

Mary Pierce is called French, Amanda Coetzer is South African.... got the point?

SerialKiller#69
May 29th, 2004, 04:08 AM
For the second time, :yawn:

ico4498
May 29th, 2004, 04:09 AM
"I don't think anything can stop me unless I lose,"

girl's got a sense of humor.

faboozadoo15
May 29th, 2004, 04:16 AM
Anna is going to be hard to live up to. Any Russian player would kill for Anna's record right now! She still is the best one.
eek. i think i'd much rather have myskina's career. titles, wins over a lot of good players top FIVE, quarters of a few grand slams-- consistent results!

Eurotennisfan
May 29th, 2004, 04:53 AM
eek. i think i'd much rather have myskina's career. titles, wins over a lot of good players top FIVE, quarters of a few grand slams-- consistent results!

I would not...Anna was better!

Jakeev
May 29th, 2004, 05:07 AM
I see that many of your are not paying attention. Maria does not want to be compared to Anna nor does she want the same attention Anna has.

Maria WANTS to play tennis and be a contender with the best. As far as I am concerned, that is a HUGE difference between Anna and Maria.

People also forget that Anna was not part of the age restrictions that face Maria and other players like Sesil Karantcheva and Nicole Vaidisova.

Therefore, Anna had time to be more match tough and have the "better" record as some of you like to call it.

Maria has nothing but time. So give it to her instead of being so harsh on her.

VeraNuVirgosFan
May 29th, 2004, 05:37 AM
Well said again, Jakeev.

VeraNuVirgosFan
May 29th, 2004, 05:41 AM
...Sharapova is getting better but she's still not done anything much more than Anna (aside from winning a title I know) so the comparisons are not that unreasonable IMHO...
"(aside from winning a title I know)" - Two Tier III titles actually.

spec7er
May 29th, 2004, 05:45 AM
Didn't Anna go through AER like Serena? Is the AER from their time different from what it is being applied with the Sharapovas and Karatanchevas and other young and up and coming players now?

Comparisons will always be made by the two since both are Russian. Both are blonde. Both came from Bollieteri Academy. And both did or are doing good in tennis. Both were hyped to be one of the best in the sport.

It's just the media making a new Kournikova in Sharapova. Especially now Anna's not playing.

Kart
May 29th, 2004, 03:21 PM
"(aside from winning a title I know)" - Two Tier III titles actually.
Your point being ?

bandabou
May 29th, 2004, 03:33 PM
:lol: If beating Vera the Z is a breakthrough for you.....man, you´re in deep trouble!

TennisOK
May 29th, 2004, 04:16 PM
Maria has not reached her full potential yet. She will have a slam in about 3 years. Anna never really had a chance to win slams, she was a threat like Nastya beating top players when they are off, but #1 or slam winner material she is not. Had Maria S played Serena instead of Maria K back then, she could have won. Plus, she is more mouth-watering:).

bandabou
May 29th, 2004, 04:22 PM
But she´s to grow at the right places first....still to girliesh...

TennisOK
May 29th, 2004, 04:47 PM
girliesh, isnt that supposed to be a good thing at 17? Or you want her to act like Martina?
I just like her a lot better. Hopefully she wont marry a hockey player anytime soon.

the cat
May 29th, 2004, 05:25 PM
Well said Jakeev.

SerialKiller#69
May 29th, 2004, 05:25 PM
People also forget that Anna was not part of the age restrictions that face Maria and other players like Sesil Karantcheva and Nicole Vaidisova.

Wasn't Anna in some kind of age restriction too? I remember reading a post match interview about her mentioning it. I'm not sure if it's the same with Sesil's and Nicole's though.:shrug:

Actually Maria didn't say anything bad about Anna in the article. Based on other articles though, she makes it seem so dismal to be compared to Anna unlike other young players like Safina, Golovin and Harkleroad who have taken a more matured outlook about it. They took those comparisons as compliments and even praised Anna for her achievements.

SerialKiller#69
May 29th, 2004, 05:30 PM
"(aside from winning a title I know)" - Two Tier III titles actually.
she only won a title,barely, against Kapros. the other one was purely circumstancial luck.

TennisOK
May 29th, 2004, 05:34 PM
I think Anna was under AER, and she openly talked about how much she hated it. She was one year late.

LindsayRocks89
May 29th, 2004, 06:01 PM
I love Maria :hearts:

Chance
May 29th, 2004, 06:08 PM
Maria has not reached her full potential yet. She will have a slam in about 3 years. Anna never really had a chance to win slams, she was a threat like Nastya beating top players when they are off, but #1 or slam winner material she is not. Had Maria S played Serena instead of Maria K back then, she could have won. Plus, she is more mouth-watering:).Serena's LOVES Sharapova's type of game so I doubt Sharapova would have won.


People don't remember how good Anna used to be, all they rememeber is that she hasn't won a title..it's up to Anna to do something about that and it doesn't look like Anna cares.

Sharapova is definitely hyped up and IMG desperately want their own Anna, but Maria has the game to do well but the question remains if she can cope with the pressure.

htm
May 29th, 2004, 06:17 PM
It's pretty insulting to Anna that people forget that she does have a good work ethic. She built her tennis career out of nothing and beat bigger names than Sharapova has. Just because she's pretty and easily distracted doesnt mean that she was never good at playing tennis, and that's basically what this article states.


I agree, I'm not the biggest Anna fan but, I will give credit where credits do. Anna had a great work ethic, but she just came up against much better players, and yes she never won a singles title but look at some of people she beat and she beat them when they were playing at their best. If Maria win this tournment look at her side of the draw, EASY.

bobcat
May 29th, 2004, 06:19 PM
On the ESPN wrapup show last night that Female commentator was comparing Sharapova with Anna and acting like Anna could never play. How soon people forget. To be honest, I think Anna was more talented than Maria, but maybe Maria is mentally stronger.

bandabou
May 29th, 2004, 06:27 PM
Plus man...it ain´t THAT difficult to win a title against anniko kapros...contrast that to playing a final of a tier I against Venus Williams....

SerialKiller#69
May 29th, 2004, 08:11 PM
Plus man...it ain´t THAT difficult to win a title against anniko kapros...contrast that to playing a final of a tier I against Venus Williams....
errr..actually maria had a hard time beating aniko at that finals. i saw that match and marial literally had to shriek her way to win the last few points to win it. aniko fought a good match.

i'd really start crediting maria's finals wins if they're against notable opponents.even top 20 to 50.

VeraNuVirgosFan
May 30th, 2004, 06:43 AM
she only won a title, barely, against Kapros. the other one was purely circumstancial luck.
You can say whatever you want, but a win is win, whether you won by an inch or by a mile.

Wasn't Momo a champion when Venus was injured and couldn't play the final a few weeks ago?

And Sharapova was leading in that match anyway when the other player got injured.

Jakeev
May 30th, 2004, 06:52 AM
Wasn't Anna in some kind of age restriction too? I remember reading a post match interview about her mentioning it. I'm not sure if it's the same with Sesil's and Nicole's though.:shrug:

Actually Maria didn't say anything bad about Anna in the article. Based on other articles though, she makes it seem so dismal to be compared to Anna unlike other young players like Safina, Golovin and Harkleroad who have taken a more matured outlook about it. They took those comparisons as compliments and even praised Anna for her achievements.
Nope Anna escaped the age restriction policy. And why shouldn't it be dismal if Maria does not want to be compared to Anna and why should that be immature of her?

She has every right to be herself and not to be compared to another player, no matter who it is. I applaud her seriousness about being Maria Sharapova and not the next so and so.

Edward.
May 30th, 2004, 08:03 AM
Nope Anna escaped the age restriction policy. And why shouldn't it be dismal if Maria does not want to be compared to Anna and why should that be immature of her?

She has every right to be herself and not to be compared to another player, no matter who it is. I applaud her seriousness about being Maria Sharapova and not the next so and so.

Exactly right! :yeah:

I think it is pathetic that every blonde girl on the tour has be to be compared to Kournikova at some point.

CooCooCachoo
May 30th, 2004, 08:10 AM
"I don't think anything can stop me unless I lose," Maria laughed.

That girl has been talking to Johan Cruyff! :o

ALPHA
May 30th, 2004, 09:28 AM
Nope Anna escaped the age restriction policy. And why shouldn't it be dismal if Maria does not want to be compared to Anna and why should that be immature of her?
Anna DID NOT escape the age restriction rules. Along with Serena Williams she was limited to the same amount of tournaments Sharapova is/was nowadays.

She was very disappointed about it - being hampered in her progress during the most successful years of her career in 1997 and 1998 - contrary to Martina Hingis, who was the last of the upcoming top-players (talents) to play without age restriction. As far as I know, Martina turned Pro a couple of months earlier than actually wanted exactly because of age-restriction coming up.



So for the last time: Anna played under same age restriction as Sharapova does today.
That's not the first time you deny that, Jakeev - and it's not the first time others informed you about it on this board.



Beside all that: to compare two or more things / persons with each other is never stupid or false or misleading. You just have to be fair with your arguments, you have to include ALL the facts (not reduced to the facts you WANT to include, because they support your viewpoint only), you will need to define some common used words as "talent", "potential", "more successful", "better", "record", "more accomplished" etc etc ...

.... but most important, you have to step back from the NEED to degrade one of them so the other stands alone in superity. Forget that useless argumentation a lá "BUT MY ONE IS BETTER THAN YOURS" ... THAT's pointless.


.

VeraNuVirgosFan
May 30th, 2004, 10:11 AM
Certainly Anna's tennis record is better than what Sharapova has achieved so far.

And what I'm going to say is getting really old but I would say it anyway: Anna's on court record is really great but Sharapova simply doesn't like the Anna comparisons.

SerialKiller#69
May 30th, 2004, 10:51 AM
So for the last time: Anna played under same age restriction as Sharapova does today.
That's not the first time you deny that, Jakeev - and it's not the first time others informed you about it on this board.

I thought so. I remember reading her post match interview way back, expressing Anna's frustration about it.

Darutt
May 30th, 2004, 11:06 AM
Anna was under the age eligibility rules but because she was in the first group of juniors after they started the restrictions, she wasn't restricted as much as the juniors are now. I just remember that was what Tracey Austin had said when they televised in Anna's match against Barbara Paulus back in her first US Open. I'm not sure of the number of events though.