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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 09:40 AM   #3586
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Actually, I was referring to the layout you did for Auckland with the pics of Maria's AO dresses through the years. But, yeah, Tokyo was nice, too.
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 09:44 AM   #3587
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

oh

someone just open the thread please
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #3588
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

I took the liberty of creating the thread. I couldn't contain my excitement anymore
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 04:15 PM   #3589
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

http://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/s...108-1pq49.html

Quote:
Sharapova seeks victory to put all others in the shade

January 9, 2012
Injury-plagued Russian says winning this year's Australian Open title would be the finest moment of her career, writes Linda Pearce.

Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 as a 17-year-old starlet, the 2006 US Open as a glamorous global brand, and the 2008 Australian Open as a dethroned No.1 who had returned - for the first time - from the shoulder injury that would plague her. She believes her next major title, if there is one, will be her finest.

''If I'm able to win a grand slam after my injury it would be my biggest victory in my career, definitely,'' said Sharapova, who dipped to No.126 in the rankings in 2009 just before resuming from shoulder surgery.

''Knowing what I had to go through in order just to play tennis, mentally and physically, and knowing that I had that desire in me to keep going.

''Whereas when you do something from when you're four years old and it's just on automatic pilot, and you're young, you're bound to improve because you're learning.

''You're learning from experience, learning from matches. So when you're kind of at a standstill and you have to start from scratch, that's when you really test your motivation levels and that determination.''

Sharapova is renowned as one of the game's steeliest and most driven competitors, but she is far more likeable in an intimate interview situation than the slightly haughty figure who presides over the world's press rooms.

She is physically striking, of course: tall, lean and green-eyed, with a presence and star power exuded by very few. She is also a young veteran of 24, as hard as that is to reconcile with the fact that she won her first, biggest and most surprising slam more than seven years ago.

If, to us, Sharapova seems to have been around for an age, she admits that ''in a way'' it also feels that way to her. After all, she started playing at four, moved from Russia to Nick Bollettieri's academy in Florida at seven, turned professional on her 14th birthday and won her first title two years later.

''Someone was saying how young Petra [Kvitova] was, and she's 21, right, and I was thinking to myself, 'Oh my God, 21. What does that make me? I'm like a grandma! I'm just three years older than her','' Sharapova laughs. ''I think just because I've been on the tour and obviously winning at a young age, I think that makes me feel like I've been on the tour longer, but I don't regret that.''

So if tennis years are like dog years, does that make her a thirtysomething? ''Oh, I still feel like a teenager,'' she declares.

The world No.4 is also a wife-to-be. Sharapova got engaged last year to basketball player Sasha Vujacic, who is based in Turkey until mid-year after moving from the New Jersey Nets to Anadolu Efes Istanbul during the NBA lockout.

Sharapova says her professional/personal mix is ''a great balance'', describing a life far from the A-list parties and red-carpet affairs of which another tennis uber-celebrity, Serena Williams, is so fond.

''I have a very normal life away from tennis, and it's simply because I choose to be normal and I choose to have simplicity and enjoy simplicity in life,'' she says. ''To me, going back home, the first days at home, are always the best of my year, because after travelling and being on the road where everything is taken care of, and you're driven around and you're going to restaurants, it's nice to have that realistic feel about life. And to obviously have someone that you can share it with makes it even better.''

Yet her private contentment has apparently not affected her tennis desire, for the owner of 24 career titles and a 2011 Wimbledon finalist works as determinedly as ever. ''I think it actually settles you in a way, because you know what you have in life, and you know a tennis career can only go for so long. You can only be physically capable of doing what you do to a certain extent.

''You know [that] at a certain point both of our bodies are not going to allow us to keep doing our jobs after a certain age. So we're very content in a way where we know that when we are done with our crazy hectic lifestyles and our travels and our sports that we're going to have so much time to spend together and that makes us very happy to know that we already have that and established that.''

She is also the highest off-court earner in women's sport, her $17 million in career prizemoney dwarfed by an array of mostly blue-chip endorsements ranging, slightly incongruously, from an anti-dandruff shampoo to the top-end jeweller Tiffany & Co, and a lucrative long-term deal with sportswear giant Nike.

Yet a love of competing is still what drives her, and pushed Sharapova to return from her shoulder operation more quickly than she was told she could. ''There's nothing else in my life that gives me that, whether it's designing, doing a photo shoot … in my work, in my career, everything is controlled in my hands, and that gives me such a freedom, in a way, because I know that if I lose the match it's because I lost the match. It was in my hands.''

The cloud now is over Sharapova's left ankle, injured in Tokyo in October, not quite right by Istanbul and still insufficiently healed to allow her to play in the Brisbane International.

After eventually deciding against a wildcard into the small Hobart tournament, she has spent almost a full week practising in Melbourne, where she will remain in the lead-up to next week's Australian Open. ''Maria's a big unknown,'' says the former tour player and now commentator Rennae Stubbs.

She is also the highest off-court earner in women's sport, her $17 million in career prizemoney dwarfed by an array of mostly blue-chip endorsements ranging, slightly incongruously, from an anti-dandruff shampoo to the top-end jeweller Tiffany & Co, and a lucrative long-term deal with sportswear giant Nike.

Yet a love of competing is still what drives her, and pushed Sharapova to return from her shoulder operation more quickly than she was told she could. ''There's nothing else in my life that gives me that, whether it's designing, doing a photo shoot … in my work, in my career, everything is controlled in my hands, and that gives me such a freedom, in a way, because I know that if I lose the match it's because I lost the match. It was in my hands.''

The cloud now is over Sharapova's left ankle, injured in Tokyo in October, not quite right by Istanbul and still insufficiently healed to allow her to play in the Brisbane International.

After eventually deciding against a wildcard into the small Hobart tournament, she has spent almost a full week practising in Melbourne, where she will remain in the lead-up to next week's Australian Open. ''Maria's a big unknown,'' says the former tour player and now commentator Rennae Stubbs.

''There's a lot of boxes that aren't being ticked right now. Her health, for one, and mentally that affects you because you haven't had a lot of matches, and she really hasn't played a lot since the US Open, so there's massive question marks.

''When Maria's on [form], she's one of the best players in the world for sure, but she just hasn't had a lot of matches. So she's coming in pretty cold, and she's a confidence player, like most players.

''Someone like Kim Clijsters can have a bad week and and then come out the next week and play 'lights out'. Maria's not like that, but if she gets through a few rounds there's no question: she's dangerous.''

And still hungry. Sharapova is a proven winner, but it is also four years since her last success. The first three slams were thrilling, satisfying, rewarding. A fourth would, for many reasons, be something more again.
Nice article and nice words from Maria!

Can`t believe it`s been 4 years now since her last Grand Slam title
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #3590
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Quote:
Sharapova doing whatever it takes

Hundreds of children – some laughing, others crying, one even imitating her infamous shriek – are bracing Maria Sharapova for any unexpected courtside distractions in the coming fortnight.

Desperate for court-time, having withdrawn from her only Australian Open lead-up event in Brisbane, the Russian fourth seed agreed to play a practice set against Elena Vesnina yesterday on the unfamiliar surrounds of an outside court, amid hordes of her youngest fans.

After dusting off the cobwebs on Margaret Court Arena, Sharapova made it clear the injury-interrupted lead-ups to some of her biggest Australian Open threats – such as Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki – made no difference to her approach.

“To be honest, I think everyone's really selfish and just thinking about themselves,” she said.

And does that extend to Sharapova?

“Yes, yes, yes,” she laughed.

The 2008 Australian Open champion was quick to allay any concerns for her injured ankle and declared herself fit to begin the year’s first Grand Slam campaign.

“I prefer to be going into the first Grand Slam healthy, not necessarily thinking that I've not played a lot of matches. To me health is the most important,” she said.

“My injury was a sprained ankle, so it was a little bit unlucky. Everyone has a few nagging injuries. It's just part of our careers.”

While a veteran of nearly 11 years on tour and drawing on her own memories of her first visit to Melbourne Park as a junior back in 2002, it is easy to forget Sharapova is still only 24.

When it was suggested she belonged somewhere in the middle-aged bracket – between the veterans, such as the Williams sisters and Clijsters and the younger brigade, including 21-year-old Petra Kvitova – Sharapova was having none of it.

“Define ‘young’,” she said. “Because 24 is not past 25 so I’m early 20s.

“I just woke up a couple weeks ago and I thought to myself when I was 18 … ‘Gosh, would I still be playing at 25? Wow, seven years’.

“But now I'm 24 and I wake up and I still feel like I have so many more years ahead of me.”

Sharapova remembers being one of those starstruck fans, much like those surrounding her on Margaret Court Arena yesterday.

“I had that experience more so growing up in Florida and going to the Miami tournament every year. I remember my parents and I would drive down just to go and see the matches,” she said.

“I actually preferred going and seeing the men playing. I remember loving going to Marcelo Rios’s matches and having a good laugh, watching some fun tennis, Kafelnikov as well.”

Four years since she held aloft the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at Melbourne Park, Sharapova said her game was now more consistent as she looked to add to the three grand slam titles to her name.

But she agreed her title run in 2008 was among the best tennis she has produced.

“I think throughout a two‑week stage, for sure,” she said.

“No matter who you are, it's pretty tough to have a high level over seven matches in 14 days. You're bound to have some letdowns.

“It was the toughest draw that I think I ever had in my career, as well.”

Sharapova begins her 2012 Australian Open campaign against Argentina’s Gisela Dulko.
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/...529089384.html
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #3591
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

YASSSSSSSSS CONSISTENCY IS WHAT YOU NEED, BEB. Suddenly optimistic again.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #3592
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

I like that she acknowledges that THE AO08 run was her best display of tennis consistently throughout a 2 weeks period, and also the insane draw she was given. So much pride till even today when I recall her blasting her way through the field.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #3593
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

14 JanMaria Sharapova press conference before the Australian Open 2012.

Q. How is the body feeling at the moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, good. I′ve been in Melbourne for some time now. Came here a little bit early. I was thinking of maybe playing a tournament the week before. Just thought it would be good to stay here and train and get ready.
I wasn′t really in a hurry to go and play a tournament when I didn′t feel like, you know, I had enough practice and all.
But, yeah, it′s been really good. The body feels really good.

Q. You had a set on Margaret Court.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was good. I spoke to Craig Tiley a week ago and he mentioned the Kids′ Day, if somehow I wanted to be involved in it. I knew there was little doubles and stuff going on. I knew I hadn′t played a lot of matches. I thought it would be great if I could go out and play a set. It was good.

Q. Is the ankle healed right now or are you unsure of some moves?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it′s healed pretty well. It just didn′t heal as fast as I thought it would. But, yeah, it feels good now.

Q. Are you worried about lacking matches and starting your season in a Grand Slam?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I prefer to be going into the first Grand Slam healthy, not necessarily thinking that I′ve not played a lot of matches. To me health is the most important.

Q. There′s a lot of the top players carrying injuries coming into this tournament. Is that a little unusual?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I′m not sure. You know, it′s a pretty tough sport. We play for many months out of the year. My injury was a sprained ankle, so it was a little bit unlucky. Everyone has a few nagging injuries. It′s just part of our careers. It′s just how we go about it and try to heal it at fast as possible.

Q. Does it make it any easier to deal with?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To be honest, I think everyone′s really selfish and just thinking about themselves (laughter). I′ll be really honest with you.

Q. Does that include yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yes, yes, yes (smiling).

Q. You have the younger players on the tour emerging and some of the older players like Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. You′re in the middle. Where do you feel like you fit in?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do I need to feel like I fit in, placement on the grid?

Q. How do you see the battle between the younger and older players and where you fit into that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, define ′young′.

Q. Early 20s, Kvitova, Wozniacki.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Because 24 is not past 25, so I would say that′s still kind of early 20s. I just woke up a couple weeks ago and I thought to myself, When I was 18, I′d be thinking, Gosh, would I still be playing at 25. Wow, seven years. But now I′m 24 and I wake up and I still feel like I have so many more years ahead of me.

Q. Do you remember your first year here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the juniors or in pros?

Q. In the juniors even.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I remember losing in the final of the juniors and not being too happy about it.

Q. Just coming to Australia, what type of person were you, what type of player? What was the experience like?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, at that age it′s all about experience. I don′t think there′s really a bad experience you can have. When you′re at that point in your career, you′re just learning and everything is coming to you. You win or lose, you′re benefitting from all of it. You learn if you lose the matches. If you win, you improve your ranking and so on, people notice you and all that.
Yeah, it was an important time in my career ′cause those were the years where I kind of went from the juniors and started playing more pros. It′s a pretty important transition for any player.

Q. Wozniacki was saying when she first came here she was 13. You got to be around the stars. Did you ever feel that way, wide eyed, not thinking, Oh, my God, there′s Steffi or Monica?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Was Steffi still playing then?

Q. No, sorry. She stopped in ′99.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Actually I had that experience more so growing up in Florida and going to the Miami tournament every year. I remember my parents and I would drive down just to go and see the matches.
I actually preferred going and seeing the men playing. I remember loving going to Marcelo Rios′ matches and having a good laugh, watching some fun tennis, Kafelnikov as well. Yeah, that was my real experience where I wasn′t there to play but just to see the players and to watch tennis.

Q. It′s hard for us to get an understanding who the favorite might be on the women′s side of things. We don′t know how bad all the injuries are. Do you see as a competitor somebody that stands out?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it any different than other years?

Q. Probably not. But there were four different Grand Slam winners last year. It′s tough to get a read on it.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You just want me to help you with that?

Q. Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That′s a tough one because we all come in here trying to be as prepared as we can. This is the start of a new year for us. We′re coming off a little bit of an off season where we′re training on the things maybe we feel we needed to improve. It just kind of gives us time to settle down and get away from the tour life for a little bit. This is just where it begins.
I think it′s not just for you or anyone in this room, but for me, too, it′s cool to see how everyone comes out of it, where they are, where they′re playing, where their level is.

Q. What was it like when you went to Miami as a player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: First time I went to Miami as a player, they had like a junior version of the Miami tournament. I think it was maybe eight girls. I remember playing Gisela Dulko in the finals of this tournament actually. We had quite the battle, one of those Court 17s or something.
Yeah, I think I won. Maybe I lost. I don′t know. I remember it was three sets because it was probably the longest junior match I ever played.
Yeah, it′s all experience. Like I said, that′s one of the most important transitional stages as a tennis player, from the juniors going to the pros.

Q. Is it fair to say that 2008 when you won here was the best level you ever had?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think throughout a two week stage, for sure. No matter who you are, it′s pretty tough to have a high level over seven matches in 14 days. You′re bound to have some letdowns, maybe conditions, your opponent, maybe just not a good day. I actually thought the final was probably one of the worst matches I played in the whole couple of weeks as far as level goes.
But, yeah, it was the toughest draw that I think I ever had in my career, as well, so...

Q. Then your level over the last year compared to 2008 at times.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think my level was much more consistent than where I saw it at the couple years before that, you know, following the shoulder surgery. It was a big step for me in the right direction. We talked about all my changes that I made in the beginning of the year, new coach, new racquet. Obviously a lot of uncertainty. One level where I wasn′t going up or down. It′s tough. You make those changes and you want to benefit from them, but you′re not quite sure when and how.
Yeah, I didn′t really start the year off on the best note. I lost here in the fourth round. I got sick playing Paris. Didn′t play in Fed Cup. It was kind of, Where is this going? Then all of a sudden things clicked because ultimately when you put in the work, it′s going to pay off. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in one week, but maybe in many months.

Q. Can you talk about the things that you′ve been working on in your game now.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, for me it′s just being aggressive and finding ways to move forward and finishing the points closer to the net. I mean, if I′m running around and playing 10 , 20 ball rallies, it usually means I′m not playing my game.
You know, first ball after the serve, being aggressive on the return, the first balls are very important. Yeah, things like that, moving forward, getting faster, yeah.

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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 02:24 PM   #3594
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Nice interview .
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 05:08 PM   #3595
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Maria liked Marcelo Rios ?
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #3596
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Love the interview!
I always love when she says she has many years ahed of her in her career.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 06:40 PM   #3597
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

A nice picutre of Maria:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/te...-1226244542610
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 07:20 PM   #3598
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18majors View Post
It's from last years player party
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 08:20 PM   #3599
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobahobaspirit View Post
Maria liked Marcelo Rios ?
How can you dislike him? Shame it was Guga who won all the majors
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Maria Sharapova: Mind Over Matter
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TT: Winner - (Singles) Tashkent 2012; (Doubles) - (w/Broseghini) Cuneo 100k '10; (w/Peek-A-Boo) Contrexeville 50k '10; (w/JustPetko) Bucharest 75k '10, Nantes 50k '10, Marbella '11, Washington '11, Linz '11, Istanbul YEC '11, Opole 25K '11, Pattaya City '12, Tashkent '12, Pune 125k '12, Memphis '13, Carlsbad '13, Marrakech '14, Washington '14
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 09:10 PM   #3600
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Encouraged by that interview tbh She's usually pretty realistic about where her health is (like at the YEC, she admitted before the tournament started that the ankle wasn't really that great and that she wouldn't be playing if it wasn't a big tournament), so if she says her ankle's good now, I believe her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denny5576 View Post
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Because 24 is not past 25, so I would say that′s still kind of early 20s. I just woke up a couple weeks ago and I thought to myself, When I was 18, I′d be thinking, Gosh, would I still be playing at 25. Wow, seven years. But now I′m 24 and I wake up and I still feel like I have so many more years ahead of me.
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