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-   -   ** Masha News and Articles! ** (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=124801)

clementine Jul 21st, 2004 05:05 PM

** Masha News and Articles! **
 
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

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcova
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:

Quote:

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

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

Quote:

Originally Posted by quasimodo
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

3 Attachment(s)
There's a new article about Maria in the new Sports Illustrated 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:

Quote:

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."

Lemonskin. Jul 23rd, 2004 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcova
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.


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