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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:20 AM   #8
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Re: Maria Interviews

« Maria is very good friend with my 13 years old daughter and they have a lot of fun together » told Eric Van Harpen recently on Maria website. Laura Van Harpen accepted to answer to this quick interview.
Laura, do you remember the first time you met Maria ?
I remember meeting Maria, i think it was on a train, that went to Eastbourne last year. I came from London, where I live and met my dad and Maria at a station, where they also boarded the train. I remember that there was a newspaper and she was in it. It was for Wimbledon, a ones to watch list. The first moment I met her, she was just so nice and it was like I knew her forever !

What can you said about Maria personality ?
First, she is a very nice person, and we laugh a lot. She is never in bad mood and very positive. She always has a lot to say and we never get bored. It is just nice to be around her !

What do you think of Maria, the tennis player ? Do you play tennis with her sometimes ?
She is so talented, my dad always says that, she has to concentrate more in her game and understand and she will improve so quickly. That is why clay is good for her, because the game is slower and you have more time to watch the opponent and what is going on. I am always there when she practices and when my dad comes late or he is gone for some minutes and she had her break. She is always the one saying, come on Laura, let’s play a couple of minutes. Once we played doubles together. When we went for dinner, she made a bet that her and me would win easily against the owner and her father. And so, we played one set and we won 6-1. Their faces where so funny, what a victory !

Eric told me that you are very good friend with Maria. Are you friend with the others tennis players coached before by your father ?
Yes, Maria is a very good friend. Like I said, we giggle all the time and laugh. I think because now my dad is with Maria, we spend more time together as I do with other players. But yes, you know, growing up there have been many different players and none of them didn’t like me coming on tour or something. So yes Kournikova, I was very little but I remember that my mum and her always planned crazy things and somehow, I was always involved. Ivanovic is also so nice, I am always glad to see her at tournaments. And I remember the first time I met Sharapova which was in Mallorca 2003 or 2004. I jumped into her arms because my dad told me how nice she was and all. I collected sticks and wrote her name with them on the court. (smile) All the players I know are really very friendly, and if you met them you wouldn’t think they are famous. They are all so healthy mentally and so normal.

Do you play tennis ? Do you follow your father in all his travel with Maria all around the world ?
Well, I do school, even though it gets tough sometimes. I play tournaments too, so often I miss a couple of lessons, but I play everyday. In my holidays I usually travel with my dad and Maria. I play everyday when I am with my dad too. And I always get motivated when Maria trains or plays before me.

Last question, could tell me an anecdote, a funny moment of life you live with Maria.
Like I said we laugh all the time. It might just be one thing that we have seen before and we just look at each other and start laughing. But one thing was when we were in Dubai, where the pictures where taken. It was sunday so we both didn’t play tennis, and we said that we should take a walk by the beach. But when we were at the beach, we remembered that we were there already one week and then we barely had taken pictures. So in the end, we only walked 100 meters and took 200 photos, trust me we took a lot.

This hotel was an Al Habtoor Resort and spa, and he gave us a huge suite that had four bedrooms, with bathrooms, three living rooms, a huge kitchen and dining space. So after the beach, we went back up and we took pictures with vases doing as if they were trophies and kissing them and all. And we saw how my dad and hers were playing and we decided to scare them when they came back up (we were sharing the same suite). Then each of us took a pillow as we heard the door opening and leaned over the door to see if it was them. Actually Maria did that, and I started laughing because I was thinking, maybe it could be someone wanting to clean up the suite, and it was. So we started giggling but he didn’t hear us. We waited and heard how the footsteps came closer. And the man was shocked as he saw the two of us there, next to him holding pillows. I looked at mine, and said that I liked the decoration and Maria started laughing like crazy, and we spent the rest of the day laughing everytime we saw a part of staff from the hotel.
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