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Marcell
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Time for Sharapova to narrow her focus



Maria Sharapova is first and foremost a tennis player. There’s no doubt about that. You don’t get to No. 1 in the world, win two Grand Slams and more than a dozen tournaments by the age of 20 without having dedication to your craft.

Her desire to win is unquestioned, and she’s one of the handful of truly steely competitors on the WTA Tour. But the idea that Sharapova’s focus is so laser sharp that her occasional dalliances into modeling or her commitments to the slew of companies she endorses doesn’t take away from her game is getting a bit harder to swallow. Particularly in light of her latest, and most puzzling venture.




Sharapova has decided to add television producer to her list of growing titles. According to Variety, she’s set to produce a sports-themed drama for the CW network that will revolve around the world of women’s professional tennis. Clearly she’ll be comfortable with the subject matter. Still, why is she doing this? It’s unlikely she’ll be consumed with the day-to-day operations of the show, and is probably doing this more as a vanity project (although there will undoubtedly be the obligatory cameos). But it is another distraction.
Let’s hope that her name is being attached to this project just to add a little legitimacy to the show. Let’s hope finding a better lead-in for Gossip Girl won’t be much of an imposition on Sharapova’s time. Because face it – if this were Venus or Serena Williams taking on this venture, the derision over their misplaced priorities would loud and merciless.

Not Maria, though. She gets a pass because she vehemently denies it has an affect on her tennis. She says all her extracurriculars are just fun stuff she does during down time and the off season. Sure she’s a self-proclaimed businesswoman, but her first order of business will always be pummeling her ground strokes and taking home the winner’s check. By downplaying her interest in her diversions and claiming that her professional dedication never wavers, it’s never seen as a reason for poor performance. Venus and Serena trumpet their affection for their side projects. They’re not bashful in their defiance of being just tennis players, so it’s fair game to hammer them for it. This is particularly true for Serena who gets crucified for being unprepared and out of shape when she does decide to show up for an event.

Sharapova’s genetics protect her from suffering the same ridicule. The girl would probably have to spend a year on her couch married to a quart of Haagen-Dazs before she even started looking the least bit chunky. So she’ll always pass the eye test. But what if the injuries she started suffering this year and spotty performance, particularly late in tournaments, were a result of her not spending the requisite time on the practice court and in the gym? What if she did get out shape? At least, out of the shape a professional athlete needs to be in. What if she filmed one too many commercials, did a few too many photo shoots, and didn’t spend enough time maintaining the rhythm on her serve? A serve that was once a huge weapon, and mysteriously became a liability in the latter half of this season. The numbers don’t lie. Sharapova only played 11 tournaments so far this year (the same as the allegedly unmotivated Serena and two less than the mercurial Venus) and won just one of them. And for the first time in her career she started suffering head-scratching losses to players ranked well below her. Possible comers like Aravane Rezai, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Victoria Azarenka. The only reason Sharapova qualified for the WTA Championships is because Venus pulled out and, outside of Justine Henin, women’s tennis is mired in a pool of parity.

So how does adding television producer to her resume return her to the Grand Slam glory she claims to so desperately covet? She’s certainly entitled to use her exceptional marketability to line her pockets. Anyone in her position would gladly do the same. Somebody has to be the highest-paid female athlete on the planet and she’s as good a candidate as any. And let’s be honest, that’s what her television aspirations are all about. But she shouldn’t be a hypocrite about it. A player at her age that wants to rack up titles and get back to No. 1 doesn’t entertain fantasies of becoming d**k Wolf. It’s a guarantee that Henin isn’t spending time working on a screenplay.

With the magazine spreads and commercials, at least Sharapova’s keeping her most prized asset – her looks – in the public consciousness. That’s what makes this latest foray so bewildering. Producing a television show on second-tier network, no matter how little involvement she ultimately has, hardly seems worth the effort unless it’s something she really wants to do.

And if it is, then fine. But own up to it. She should stop pretending that these side projects are just little larks that don’t take up any of her time or energy, and admit that she likes doing things outside of tennis that have started to take a toll on her ability to play at her highest level. She maybe an endorsement machine, but Sharapova is still flesh and blood. And a girl has got to know her limitations.

Jon Levey is a senior editor at TENNIS magazine.


http://www.tennis.com/features/general/features.aspx?id=107846

Shepster
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:38 AM
Sharapova did 2 hours PR at the US Open, the very idea that the loss to Radwanska is down to Maria being out of shape due to lack of practice thanks to too much endorsement is quite laughable.

Dan23
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:38 AM
Gee havent heard that one before.....wouldnt hurt to confirm the facts before firing away either :o

Andy.
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:43 AM
She is very balanced with what she does. She only does photoshoot and endorsement stuff a few weeks out of the whole year.

goldenlox
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Anyone who can get into the tv business on a production level should pursue it.
It's possible this show will never make it to CW, but the potential upside to being in tv production is worth the attempt.

maddogz48
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Finally, It's about time the bitch Sharapova gets knocked for her outside interests.

Serena & Venus are slaughtered daily for doing things besides tennis and when Sharapova does these same things it is acceptable for her.

Andy.
Nov 6th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Finally, It's about time the bitch Sharapova gets knocked for her outside interests.

Serena & Venus are slaughtered daily for doing things besides tennis and when Sharapova does these same things it is acceptable for her.

OK this is where I get shitty somtimes with some of the Williams Sister fans that dont like Masha (which is fine everyone has different taste). I really like the sisters but sometimes the fans go overboard. There is no need to say "The Bitch" it makes you sound trashy and ghetto. There are much nicer ways about getting your point or argument across without having to resort to gutter talk.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 6th, 2007, 12:18 PM
i'm all for outside interests so i have no problem with her doing her thing on the side....what i do agree with though is that the media goes easy on her while they slam the sisters....that's what i don't get :shrug: the media is the problem not maria and her interests

simba
Nov 6th, 2007, 12:20 PM
wow, the Media build you up and brake you down. atm, she can handel all of that stuff. i just do not understand why athlete go fashion and tv stuff. i hated it when the williams sister are doing it. trust me you will always being known as a tennis player not actor, designer or producer etc...when you tennis career is starting to suck, the media will come after you to break you down.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 6th, 2007, 12:25 PM
i don't know why people have a problem....its not a problem when you are successful but its a problem once injury comes into play...then they blame side interests....

Maria Croft
Nov 6th, 2007, 12:56 PM
i don't know why people have a problem....its not a problem when you are successful but its a problem once injury comes into play...then they blame side interests....


I know, it's always the same story, once they are injured all of a sudden they can't handle things outside of tennis and are 'distracted' but when they are winning and healthy it must be because they can, so silly.

exposbabe
Nov 6th, 2007, 01:52 PM
I would say Sharapova is probably one of the most focused athletes out there; she's hardly the best player, or mover. She's serious.
She's had some downtime because of injury. What's she supposed to do? Stay home and watch tennis on TV.

If you have any idea of how those development deals work, you can pretty much figure out how much time Sharapova needs to spend on it. They attach her name to it because they think it'll be an easier sell. They give her a "producer" credit to add to her resumé. They call her from time to time to make sure, if there are actual shots of tennis players playing, they sort of look like they can actually play.

This is not a full-time job.

VishaalMaria
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:07 PM
To be honest, I think it's because she was so injury-ridden this year, she has had time to do all these other outside activities. So it may look as if these activities are making her tennis suffer, when it could just be the factor of injuries instead....rather than a loss in focus.

hotandspicey
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:19 PM
Seems to me that the writer doen not buy into the shoulder injury excuse for her lackluster results...injuries aren't mentioned. He seems to have a problem with Sharapova's denial of outside interests and its effects.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:25 PM
problem is that she's always had them since 04...and the media knew this cause they kept talking about them when she was winning...you're telling me he now only wants her to own up because she's not having a hot year?

stevos
Nov 6th, 2007, 03:04 PM
Garbage.
Makes a couple okay points, mainly about how the Williams sisters shouldn't be slammed for their outside interests so much, but really just trash.

And I love it when posters call Maria "the bitch". Makes her look badass. :p

And reaks of bitterness. :hearts:

Meghanns Journey
Nov 6th, 2007, 04:08 PM
Is Sharapova that busy outside of tennis? I just thought she was in a slump this year. :confused:

VishaalMaria
Nov 6th, 2007, 06:02 PM
Seems to me that the writer doen not buy into the shoulder injury excuse for her lackluster results...injuries aren't mentioned. He seems to have a problem with Sharapova's denial of outside interests and its effects.

Well the writer, and everyone else, needs to give her a break about her shoulder. Really, her serve this year has sucked and I honestly think it is down to her shoulder. The only thing Maria has done wrong is come back to events too soon, only to realise her shoulder has not really healed yet. Hopefully, after the YEC she will have enough time to rest it.

JadeFox
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:39 PM
Is Sharapova that busy outside of tennis? I just thought she was in a slump this year. :confused:

It depends on how you look at it. If you're talking in terms of endorsements, then yes, she has a lot on her plate. This has been true since 2004.

However if you are talking about attending several parties, and constantly hobnobbing with celebrities, then the surprising answer is no.
Here are the red carpet glam events she attended this year:

Teen Vogue Party
The Vanity Fair Oscar After Party
The ESPY's pre party
The ESPY Awards
Celebrity Bowling Night that benefits the Matt Leinart foundation
Land Rover Auction
New York Fashion week she attended two shows: Peter Som and Michael Kors.

That may seem a lot but look at the time frame between these events. The Vanity Fair party was in March. She doesn't attend another event until July which are the ESPY's. And keep in mind she skipped most of the claycourt season because of her shoulder. And you know what she did for most of that time? She practiced! Even though she lives in LA where there are probably movie premieres and night clubs that she can attend virtually every night, she isn't photographed attending any of them. As far as comparisons go, Serena is still the red carpet queen of tennis, hands down.

And for all of you diehard Ree fans I dont' think there's anything wrong with having outside interests. As long as they don't distract you from tennis, then by all means strut on that carpet and work it honey!:rocker2:

In this case, however, it doesn't seem to me that Maria is getting all that distracted. She does not have a party girl reputation and her most Hollywood friend is a B list actress(sorry Camilla!:kiss: ) I think it's her injury and her lack of confidence that has been hurting her all of this year.

Dan23
Nov 6th, 2007, 11:47 PM
Is Sharapova that busy outside of tennis? I just thought she was in a slump this year. :confused:
No she isnt that busy...but that doesnt make a story. This clown either hasnt been following tennis this year or else he neglects to mention the real reason Maria has only played 12 events this year. You could count the days she has spent on these other things this year on 1 hand.

goldenlox
Nov 7th, 2007, 12:13 AM
She IS busy, but that's not why she's down to #6 now. She was seeded #2 at the USO.
It was the loss to Aga, then getting no points after the USO until today. That's why her ranking is going down.

@Sweet Cleopatra
Nov 7th, 2007, 03:35 PM
I admit it . it's better to see her wering ordinary dresses .