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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenlox
MAROON 5 singer ADAM LEVINE has reportedly been enjoying a secret romance with tennis superstar MARIA SHARAPOVA for months - despite the busy blonde's apparent reluctance to date.

The pair met at New York nightspot Hiro, when the SHE WILL BE LOVED star Levine serenaded the Wimbledon champion at her 18th birthday bash (APR05).

And although Sharapova has insisted she is too busy for love, she appears to be making time for the hunky 26-year-old.

A friend tells British newspaper The Sun, "Adam always has a lot of women after him. But he really likes Maria, and they have been seeing each other quietly for months."

I don't believe a word of it!
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 02:52 PM   #182
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by !!! - Dz™ - !!!
like the Andy and Maria thingy...


Poor pathetic tabloids...

Indeed, it's just the same
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #184
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even tho i dont beleive any of these...still makes me sad
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Old Aug 19th, 2005, 12:07 AM   #185
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I wouldnt be surprised if it true...

..but a 26 y/o
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Old Aug 20th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #186
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Fast Talk: Maria Sharapova


After a stellar season that took her to third place in the world rankings, 18-year-old Russian-born tennis player Maria Sharapova is advancing her game. As she gears up for the French Open in Paris next month and prepares to defend her title at Wimbledon in June, she talks with Travel + Leisure about the tournaments she loves, life off the court, and how to stay healthy on the road.

by Clara Ogden

1. How often do you travel?
My house is in Florida, but because of my heavy tournament schedule, I feel like I'm never there. I travel almost every week. I call it my life on tour.

2. Who goes with you on all your trips?
If I'm on the circuit, I travel with my dad, trainer, and a practice hitter. On vacation I bring my mom and friends.

3. Do you have a favorite tennis tournament?
I would have to say Wimbledon. Its village-like atmosphere is so cozy, and we get to stay in small cottages since there are no hotels close to the courts.

4. Any hotels you would recommend on the circuit?
The Crown in Melbourne is amazing—it's modern but it's also incredibly comfortable. I always stay there during the Australian Open. The hotel has so many shops and restaurants that you hardly need to leave.

5. You took time off recently to regroup before the new tennis season. Why did you choose the island of Nevis?
I'd heard that the Four Seasons there was beautiful and private, which was just what I needed after a year in the spotlight. I felt as if I were in a jungle, and the food was delicious. I spent most days in the sun, gazing at the water, and relaxing at the spa. I highly recommend the mango hot-stone massage.

6. Where do you think you might go on your next vacation?
I'd love to go to Corsica. But any island with crystal clear water will do.

7. What's always in your carry-on?
My laptop goes with me everywhere—we are in the 21st century, after all. And I bring Kiehl's lip balm, Fresh moisturizer, my pink iPod mini, and a good book. I've just started reading Teri Agins's End of Fashion.

8. Where do you spend your time when you're not on the court?
My biggest weakness is shopping. I love shoes. Whether I'm in New York, Paris, Miami, London, or Milan, my favorites are Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, and Miu Miu. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton are at the top of my list when it comes to clothes.

9. Do you have any favorite restaurants?
Definitely Nobu in New York, and this little French restaurant called Crème de la Crêpe in Hermosa Beach, California.

10. How do you keep healthy on the road?
I try to eat well and make sure to go for a walk or a jog whenever I arrive in a tournament city, just to get used to the air. It's so much nicer to work out in the fresh air. If I didn't play tennis for a living, I'd never set foot in a gym.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:33 PM   #187
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Single-minded Sharapova takes fast track to the top
Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:35 AM BST


By Ossian Shine

LONDON (Reuters) - There is something disarming about Maria Sharapova. Something at odds with her ready smile and glamorous attire. And that something on Monday lifted her to world number one.

Poised beyond her years, the Siberian-born teenager took just four years as a professional to become ranked the world's best tennis player.

However, that rapid ascent in a fiercely-competitive world in fact began nine years ago with a level of sacrifice few children would be prepared to endure.

Sharapova had not yet celebrated her 10th birthday when she was packed off to train in the United States.

That trip to Florida with her father Yuri launched her on the path to success and stardom, but it also required a heart-wrenching two-year separation from her mother Yelena who stayed in Siberia because of visa restrictions.

From that young age Sharapova learnt that tennis excellence would only come at a price.

"I was so lonely," she recalls. "I missed my mother terribly. My father was working as much as he could, so he couldn't see me.

"Because I was so young, I used to go to bed at 8 p.m., and they (other tennis pupils) would come in at 11 p.m. and wake me up and tell me to tidy up the room and clean it.

"But it toughened me up, and I learnt how to take care of myself. I never thought about quitting because I knew what I wanted. When you come from nothing and you have nothing, then it makes you very hungry and determined. I would have put up with much more than that to make it."

TOUCHED HEARTS

That toughness runs through the teenager today and was central to her winning Wimbledon last year and to becoming world number one on Monday.

While her journey from the frozen plains of Siberia to the summit of tennis has touched the hearts of tennis fans, for Sharapova there appears no room for sentiment.

The straight looks and answers she gives when asked of her ambitions leaves no doubt there is any question in her mind the sacrifice was worth it.

"I am very, very competitive," is her mantra. "I work hard at what I do. It is my job."

A marketing man's dream, the blonde, six-foot (1.83m) tall Sharapova is a blend of cultures and contradictions.

While she talks baseball-cap American, she proudly parades her Russian nationality.

"I'm Russian. The U.S. is a big part of my life. But I have Russian citizenship. My blood is totally Russian. I will play the Olympics for Russia if they want me," she says as if any doubt lingers.

Like any number of 18-year-olds she lists fashion, singing and dancing as her hobbies yet devours the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Her penchant for sophisticated evening gowns and glamorous nightlife would appear at odds with her love of pancakes with chocolate spread and fizzy orange drinks.

Sharapova can not be pigeon-holed or easily categorised. She is a one-off whose talent, unwavering desire and readiness to sacrifice has lifted her to the top of the world.

Few would deny her the riches she is now reaping. But if her rewards are monetary, her motivation has always been more Corinthian.

"Of course, money is a motivation. Tennis is a business and a sport, but the most important thing is to become number one in the world. That's the dream that kept me going."
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:12 PM   #188
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Sharapova's No. 1


MIKE HENRY

Herald Staff Writer



Maria Sharapova received seven bouquets of flowers and numerous congratulatory telephone calls and text messages upon reaching the No. 1 spot Monday in the Women's Tennis Association rankings.

But the 18-year-old Bradenton resident's sweetest recognition came from her father, Yuri.

"My dad was my wake-up call and he said, 'Good morning, champion,' " Sharapova said during a conference call from New York, where she is beginning preparations for next week's U.S. Open. "He is really happy. My mom called later, and she is really happy."

As for Maria, well, she sounded as if she still is trying to figure how it all happened so soon. Her victory last summer at Wimbledon brought her instant fame and endorsements galore, and she has added six victories in the past 12 months - a total matched only by Kim Clijsters. Her haul includes the 2004 season-ending WTA Tour Championships.

By moving ahead of former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, Sharapova becomes the first Russian and fifth youngest player to reach the pinnacle. Davenport held No. 1 for 44 consecutive weeks.

"Just the fact you are No. 1 puts a smile on your face," Sharapova said. "It's something I've dreamed of all my life. I'm so excited I could achieve it. This has been an amazing day for me.

"I don't think anyone expected me to win Wimbledon at 17, and no one expected me to be No. 1 by 18. Now that I know I have achieved it, I know for a fact I never have to prove anything to anyone."

But Sharapova has much to prove to herself, and the U.S. Open would be a great place to start.

"There are so many things I want to get better at, and hopefully that will help me maintain the No. 1 ranking," she said.

The news of her ascension was greeted enthusiastically at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, where Sharapova, at the tender age of 9, received a scholarship to train and use the facilities on the IMG Academies campus.

At 14, she began training primarily in California with Robert Lansdorp - credited with also developing Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Anastasia Myskina - but she and her parents call Bradenton home. Sharapova purchased a new, four-bedroom, 4½-bathroom home in May on the Manatee County end of Longboat Key for $2.69 million.

"Congratulations to Maria from myself and the academy," said Bollettieri, who leaves Thursday for the U.S. Open. "Now that she is No. 1, I am sure Yuri and she are thinking how does she stay No. 1, how does she stay healthy and how does she attack the U.S. Open."

As long as Sharapova stays focused on tennis, Bollettieri expects her to keep getting better. That is a scary thought for the rest of the WTA Tour.

"She competes well, never gives anything away and plays an offensive style. She has improved her serve and is always attacking," Bollettieri said. The No. 1 ranking "shouldn't be an albatross because she knows what she can do and what she can't do."

Sharapova is the ninth No. 1 to hone their skills at the NBTA. The others are Monica Seles, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Martina Hingis, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Boris Becker and Marcelo Rios.

WTA Tour executive Larry Scott presented Sharapova with a world No. 1 Waterford crystal trophy.

"Maria's fantastic play, commercial success and ability to serve as a great role model is helping to propel women's tennis to new heights in popularity," Scott said in a statement.

The WTA rankings reflect a player's performance in tournament play as well as her record against other players. It is a 52-week, cumulative system in which tournament results comprising a player's ranking is capped at 17 for singles and 11 for doubles.

Sharapova's 2005 singles titles include the Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo, the Qatar Total Open and the DFS Classic in England. She reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon and the quarterfinals of the French Open, losing to the eventual champion in each event.

Sharapova could have reached No. 1 earlier, but withdrew from the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles with an injury to her right pectoral muscle after reaching the quarterfinals. She also missed the Rogers Cup in Toronto but resumed practicing last week.

She said her injury and back problems earlier in the year may have resulted in part from a growth spurt that has seen her height increase from 6-feet to 6-feet-1½ inches.

"The injury gave me some good time to work on my strength and physical form," Sharapova said. "I'm still doing physical therapy and strengthening, and it feels good."

At last year's U.S. Open, Sharapova reached the third round. She sounded comfortable entering next week's action as a target for upset-minded opponents.

"I think my mind-set will be pretty much the same - to take every match as a tough one," she said. "It's not like I'm coming off four tournaments, so I'm going to be mentally fresh."

And hungry to show her new ranking is justified.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:35 PM   #189
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Thanks GL...that last one is the best article ive read so far about Maria becoming #1
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 04:05 PM   #190
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It's Lovely at Top for Sharapova

LISA DILLMAN
From Siberia to the summit.

A pitch fit for a movie executive with a short attention span? Or the real-life story of Maria Sharapova?

Both.

The inevitability of Sharapova's arrival at the top of women's tennis should not take away from what has been a remarkable journey: A girl arriving at a tennis academy in Florida armed with not much more than a dream. A daughter and father going it alone, young Maria forced to leave her mother back home in Russia.

Of course, by the time Hollywood works it all out, Maria and her father will be portrayed leaving Siberia in the middle of a blinding snowstorm on a sleigh.

Cut to 18-year-old Sharapova receiving a congratulatory phone call from her father Yuri, who says, "Good morning, champion."

Well, the latter did happen Monday to the 2004 Wimbledon champion. That's when the worst-kept secret in tennis became official: Sharapova supplanted Lindsay Davenport at No. 1 on the WTA Tour, becoming the 15th player to hold the top position, as well as the fifth-youngest and first Russian female.

"It's just an amazing fact to be No. 1 in the world," she said on a conference call Monday afternoon. "Topping it off, I am the first Russian. I'm just so excited I could achieve it. … It's just an amazing day for me."

This was a lot like what she said during the JPMorgan Chase Open in Carson earlier this month. Her news conference that day at the Home Depot Center was one part injury withdrawal, one part announcement of her soon-to-be-No. 1 status.

She will probably be seeded No. 1 at the U.S. Open, which starts Monday. There could be as many as six former No. 1s in the field: Davenport; Venus and Serena Williams; the two Belgians, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, and Amelie Mauresmo of France.

There are four Russian women in the top 10, eight in the top 20. Russians won three of the four Grand Slams in 2004, but Sharapova and the others will be trying to avert a Russian female Slam shutout this year.

She is not the first Russian tennis player to reach the top spot. Two men have been No. 1: Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a friend of Sharapova's family, and Marat Safin. Anastasia Myskina was the first Russian female to win a Grand Slam singles title, beating Sharapova by just a few weeks when she won the French Open last year.

Myskina nearly reached another milestone — first to No. 1 — before Sharapova, getting to No. 2 in September 2004. But they are heading in opposite directions now. Sharapova started the year at No. 4, made two Grand Slam semifinals and has threatened Davenport's reign since the clay-court season. Myskina has been slowed by injuries and the serious illness of her mother, and has dropped out of the top 10.

One man has coached both Russian women — Robert Lansdorp. A legendary coach and a true character, Lansdorp used to train Myskina and also worked with Davenport when she was a child. And he continues to assist Sharapova when she is in Southern California. Previously, he worked with Tracy Austin and Pete Sampras, two other former No. 1s.

Lansdorp noted his legacy, leaving an impassioned phone message for a reporter last week, before Sharapova officially became No. 1.

"It'll be my fourth No. 1 in the world. Nobody has ever even come close to doing that. It's impossible. I'm not going to live long enough to see five," he said, laughing.

He is already getting after Sharapova to stay No. 1, and not be content with merely renting the position.

"She knew it was coming — just a matter of time," he said later in a telephone interview. "It's almost like a milestone: you play, you win a Slam and you are No. 1. To me the milestone is, not that you become No. 1 … [but] how long can you stay No. 1.

"Pete was unbelievable. He was able to stay No. 1 so long. And he had tough players to play. That's what is important. Now you're No. 1 and you better stay No. 1 and stay there for at least a year or two. Not for a couple months."

Still, Lansdorp isn't sure Sharapova can have the longevity of some of her predecessors at No. 1, such as Chris Evert, Monica Seles and Steffi Graf. Sharapova simply has more options at her disposal.

"I remember telling Maria when she had to work so hard on the court, she was just moping a little bit," Lansdorp said. " 'What is the matter with you, Maria? Why don't you just become a model? All you have to do is walk up and down this runway. You don't even have to smile. No model ever smiles. They all look like they're [angry]. And you can make millions. You don't have to run down 20, 30 balls at the baseline.' "

But modeling was not the topic Monday. It was a day for celebration. Sharapova said she received seven bouquets and numerous text messages from friends, and she laughed frequently on the conference call.

"I just know for a fact that I never have to prove anything to anyone," she said. "Because I don't think anyone expected me to win Wimbledon at 17 and no one expected me to be No. 1 at 18."
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Old Aug 24th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #191
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How She Got to No. 1
Maria Sharapova, 18, uses a big serve and a killer instinct to prove that she's not just another pretty face
By SEAN GREGORY
Aug. 22, 2005
Maria Sharapova fibs. "I'm just a normal girl," she giggles. Sharapova, 18, the blond, leggy, Russia-born, Florida-raised tennis pinup is the No. 1--ranked player in the world heading into next week's U.S. Open. Sure, like a normal girl, Sharapova is a bit of a mall rat. But a normal girl doesn't morph into the highest-paid female athlete on the planet in one year. She doesn't have a corporate sponsor like Motorola throw her 18th-birthday party at a swank Manhattan nightclub, pack it with 500 people and hire Maroon 5 to rock out. And a normal girl certainly doesn't walk the tightrope between sports and sex, sparking a mini-furor at a Toronto tourney because her two stadium banners were a tad too revealing.
Here's some truth: since her surprise win at Wimbledon 14 months ago, Sharapova has aced the pundits who thought she would be a one-stroke wonder, mixing a rare brand of off-court glam and on-court grit to earn the world's top spot. Remember, we have heard a story like this before. A beautiful Russian prodigy, reared at a Florida tennis factory, splashes onto the scene--and claims more magazine covers than she does trophies. But while Anna Kournikova treated tennis as if it were a pushy paparazzo, the game is Sharapova's Prince Charming.
Sharapova leads one of the deepest U.S. Open fields in the history of women's tennis. The slam sisters, Serena and Venus Williams, will be formidable, as will new No. 2 Lindsay Davenport. Behind them lurks a horde of Sharapova's fellow Russians, including defending U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva; Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne; and France's Amélie Mauresmo. Any one of them could win the Open. The men's game, on the other hand, has been dominated by the silent Swiss Roger Federer. The only mystery concerns who will be Federer's stompee in the final.
To get to the top spot, Sharapova steadily piled up points this summer while Davenport nursed injuries. Sharapova is consistent, having won six tournaments since her triumph at Wimbledon, and she reached the quarters and two semifinals in this year's three Grand Slam events. But her quick rise--from No. 324 to No. 1 in three years--has surprised everyone, even the typically self-assured Sharapova. "It's actually shocking," she tells TIME. "Before I was trying to lay off the whole thing, saying, 'I'm not worried about it, it's not important.' But you know, once you get there, it's, like, wow!"
Just as important, she learned to say no. After winning Wimbledon, she rejected offers to present at award shows and pose for laddie magazines. She turned down dozens of endorsement contracts. She did ink nine deals with the likes of Motorola, Nike, Colgate-Palmolive and Canon that with her court winnings amount to more than $20 million in annual income. But her agent, Max Eisenbud, and a 25-person "Team Sharapova" at sports-rep firm IMG gave the corporate sponsors just three weeks this year with her.

The rest is all tennis. Sharapova has a wicked serve (up to 115 m.p.h.), unusual in the women's game, to go along with a lethal two-handed backhand. She has even sprouted two more inches--she's now 6 ft. 2 in.--which lets her cover more ground with those endless legs. "I wouldn't say I'm in love with them," Sharapova says of the extra inches, adding her signature giggle burst. "Because if I wear heels, I'm like 6 ft. 4 in. It's a little too tall." Even when she was a kid, tennis gurus noticed another extra: her unsurpassed competitive intensity. "Her desire set her apart from the pack," says former top pro Pam Shriver. Now, "she has an aura that floats around, and that's intimidating."
Sharapova's backstory reads like a tall tale. When she was 2 years old, her parents fled their Siberian town, Nyagan, to escape the nuclear residue of Chernobyl. They settled in Sochi, on the Black Sea. At 6, Sharapova was playing at a Moscow tennis clinic when Martina Navratilova spotted her. The legend told her father Yuri that Sharapova should train at Nick Bollettieri's famed tennis academy in Bradenton, Fla., which ripened stars like Monica Seles and Andre Agassi. With $700 in his pocket, Yuri took Maria to Bollettieri's doorstep. "In the beginning it was tough to tell anything about how good she was," says Bollettieri. "She was so skinny that if she turned sideways there was nothing there."
The older girls in the dorms picked on the slight, peculiar 9-year-old, who struggled with English. "I had only myself as company," says Sharapova. "It just made me tougher." That, and insisting on playing against the boys. On the court, she had Yuri, her coach to this day. Her father still barks during matches--"he crosses the line a little sometimes," admits Robert Lansdorp, her stroke coach. And Maria is not afraid to bark back, leading to speculation of a strained relationship. But Sharapova insists we won't see the father-daughter burnout that has plagued so many young women in tennis. "If we get into a fight, it's over in, like, 10 minutes," says Sharapova. "We laugh."
Sharapova's success doesn't have everyone smiling. Sponsors pay a steeper premium for beauty in women's sports--critics call that sexist. Navratilova isn't one of them: "Maria is not taking money out of anyone's pocket. It's not her fault. To me, if you got it, flaunt it."
The issue has also fueled tension between Sharapova and the other Russian tennis phenoms (eight Russians are in the top 20), a few of whom have also won Grand Slams but not enjoyed a Sharapova-like windfall. Some even question her Red blood, given her Florida upbringing. "Her father speaks half-English, half-Russian to her," says Nadia Petrova, ranked ninth in the world. "I was kind of shocked by that because if you're born in Russia, why is he speaking English to her?"
Fellow pros also question how long Sharapova can stay No. 1. "There are a lot of players with a better game," says Serena Williams, who beat Sharapova at the Australian Open in January but lost to her in the '04 Wimbledon and Tour Championships finals. Says Sharapova: "There's always going to be people talking. Words are words, then you actually got to go out and do it."

Sharapova's career plan is to make her mark and move on, knowing how the game tends to grind up its teen sensations. Any chance of shooting for titles past age 30, creating a legacy like Navratilova and Chris Evert? "No," says Sharapova. "I'll tell you that, no." That would still leave the next decade, one that could prove difficult for her opponents. She's sharpening her forehand with Lansdorp. And that killer instinct? "She wants to beat you love and love [6-0, 6-0]," says Bollettieri. "There is no mercy on the court and no mercy for anyone when she's playing." In view of Sharapova's wins so far, that's no fib.
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #192
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In Which We Avoid Puns on the Word 'Match'



By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
Published: August 26, 2005

We were speaking with MARIA SHARAPOVA on Wednesday night at a party at the ANGEL ORENSANZ Foundation center, a former synagogue on the Lower East Side. The party was celebrating Ms. Sharapova's oddly named perfume, Maria Sharapova, which, we were told, includes Wimbledon grass as an ingredient. Gardenias and magnolias were lined up in rows, rose petals were scattered along the carpet, and the scent of perfume saturated the air.

"No," Ms. Sharapova said, when we asked about the rumor that she was romancing ANDY RODDICK, who also denied it when he showed up later. "But I usually don't talk about my personal life."

We are not that easily cowed. And that scent, those flowers, are so conducive to matters of the heart. CHAVA, HODEL, TZEITEL, take it away! Boldfacer, boldfacer, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch . . . .

Tatelehs, here is what we know:

Age: 18.

Height: Very, very tall. Like, 6-foot-2 or something. And wearing heels.

Profession: Tennis player.

Hobbies: "I like running on the beach and eating healthy." And? "Movies and shopping, dancing and singing."

What she's looking for in a man: "The guy I would be interested in would not have to play tennis or even like my perfume. But he would have to understand my business, my schedule and what my life is like. And of course with all that he would have to have a good sense of humor. Age does not make a difference."

Across the crowded room was the Mexican singer ARI BOROVOY, 26, who is about four inches shorter than Ms. Sharapova, and, by his own admission, not very good at tennis. His hair was unruly, his chin unshaven and his black shirt unbuttoned. We heard from another journalist at the party that Mr. Borovoy had a soft spot for Ms. Sharapova.

"Her people called me," Mr. Borovoy corrected us in his thick accent. "She asked for me. I think she saw me perform in Mexico."

Are you interested in asking Ms. Sharapova out?

"Why not? Maybe we can play some games." He said he might even ask her for a date that night. He also said he liked the smell of her perfume: "Very nice. I hope she's wearing it tonight."

Back to Ms. Sharapova. A little conversation (this is a subtle art). Then: Mr. Borovoy said he would like to ask you out.

"Really?" she said, blushing.

Any response?

"I have no response to that now," she said with a laugh.

Let us know, you two!
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 05:59 PM   #193
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Don't know if this was posted already

An interview with:


MARIA SHARAPOVA

THE MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. If we can please start with questions for Maria.

Q. No. 1, do you remember what Richard III said about wearing the crown?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not quite (laughing).

Q. I'll let you research that one. Now you're wearing a big No. 1 (inaudible).
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don't really think aiming wise, there's a big difference between No. 1 and 2. I think No. 1 is just an amazing achievement for myself. You know, it's something that I've worked my butt off over the last years and something that I've wanted to achieve ever since I started playing tennis.
So, you know, not many people can say that they're No. 1 in the world, so obviously it is an amazing feeling.

Q. Does it feel strange to be No. 1 this past week and now Lindsay is going back to No. 1 on Monday?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. You know, if I can have it for an hour, for a week, you know, just the fact that you're No. 1 is an amazing feeling.

Q. So give an update on the pectoral injury, how you're playing right now. You've had so few matches.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's doing better. I feel a lot better. I've been strengthening for the last two weeks, seeing the physio twice a day. I was in LA for the whole week the Toronto tournament was on.
I started playing mid week of that week and I've been playing well. I've been practicing quite well. But, you know, I don't expect myself to go out there and play my best tennis from the first round because obviously I haven't had that much match play. But, you know, physically I feel stronger. So, you know, we'll see.

Q. Are you hitting your serves and forehands the way you want to or are they less than what you want them to be?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: They've been getting bigger and bigger, yeah.

Q. A lot of people are interested in the women's field this year in particular; they think it's more open. Do you feel that way? Is it good for women's tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it more open?

Q. Yes. That seems to be the prevailing opinion. Do you feel that way yourself? Do you think it helps women's tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think most of the top players are playing, aren't they? So that makes it even tougher but that's what it's all about, that's why we're here, you know, for the competition. That's why I'm here. I love it when it gets tough.
Fourth round, quarterfinal, you're playing against a tough opponent. You know, the winner of the whole thing has to beat a lot of top players and if you're not willing to do that, then there's no reason to be here.

Q. What is it about this Grand Slam that kind of separates it from the other three for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think everyone is just hyper and everyone is excited about the tennis. We're in a really crazy atmosphere here. The fans are so different compared to anywhere else in the world.
But, you know, that's the cool thing about tennis, is we travel around the world and we get to play in different atmospheres and feel the different vibe.

Q. Do you come into this year's tournament here with a different attitude than last year? Last year you were coming off the high of Wimbledon. Maybe you changed things, improved things over the past year. Do you have a different attitude as opposed to a year ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think last year I won the last Grand Slam, I don't think I expected too much of myself from then. And, I don't know, a whole year of experience. It took me a few months to settle down after Wimbledon, so, you know, I haven't really shown New York how I can play, you know. I'm extra excited.

Q. Have you ever sat back and realized how quickly you've achieved this incredible goal you set for yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, way sooner than I thought it would be, definitely. Yeah, you look back few years, two, three years, you know where I was, and just this is amazing, yeah. It's unbelievable.

Q. Is it true you're 6'2'' now, or are you still growing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I try to say I'm 6'1" and a half (laughing).

Q. You've had such an incredible run with Wimbledon, the championships, now becoming No. 1. As you've got more and more successful, were there ever any times in your career when you've had doubts, and, if so, how did you deal with that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There are always times when things are not, you know, either working well, either on the court or off the court. Yeah, there are many days. It's not even about being a tennis player, it's day to day things, you know. You might feel like nothing's going your way, but, you know, somehow you just you have to get through them and just stay positive.
And, you know, now, whenever something's not working, I just think back about what I've achieved and, I don't know, there are a lot of those days.

Q. Is part of it the willingness to go back to the practice court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just looking, looking towards the positive, always thinking of ways to make it better if it's not right, always try to find a way to make it better.

Q. It took you a couple months to come down from Wimbledon. Do you have any fears there's going to be that same feeling coming down from No. 1? What did you learn from last year that can help you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think it's a little bit different situation. I think I won Wimbledon kind of, you know, I wouldn't say out of nowhere, but it kind of felt like that at that time, you know. I was the 13th seed. You know, it was very surprising. I, you know, didn't even know if I would make it to the semis.
But I think with No. 1 and 2, I mean, No. 2 is already an amazing achievement, but I think just to be No. 1 in the world, it's more for myself and just to know you've achieved it, you know.
I think it was a little bit different last time.

Q. You've had a big week in New York with the perfume and tennis dress and watch. How do you keep all that stuff in perspective and keep tennis the top priority? How do you balance all that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I came here a week early to get used to the conditions and set time aside for my corporate appearances. That's, you know, I love doing that once in a while, very fun. I got to launch my perfume the other day and my new watch that I designed. So, you know, it's fun. It's like the finished product. That's the day when you're like, "Okay, everything's put together now."
But it's very important to have a balance. I mean, I was on the "Today Show" at 9 a.m., then at 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was back on the practice court working for three hours and, you know, running on the treadmill and sweating my sweating like crazy. I'm thinking, "Jesus, three hours ago I was on the 'Today Show' with make up and I looked amazing and now I look like crap."

Q. How do you feel about being in the gossip columns, specifically regarding speculation that you're dating certain rock stars and certain tennis stars?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: How do I feel? Yeah, it's flattering, I guess, but, you know, I don't I'm not the kind of person that says, "Okay, I want to be on this page." You know, my intentions are to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing, do my appearances, not to be in a paper but if I am and if I end up at that place, then I'm very flattered.

Q. This perfume that you are endorsing, were you offered like alternative scents to approve or did they come up with one scent and say, "That's what it's going to be"?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I had to no, I mean, it starts from basically it's, like, my whole creation. I come up with the ingredients and the smell and everything. So it's not like they just gave me one and told me that I'm going to endorse it, no way.
Yeah, it was a very long process. It took nine months to actually put everything together.

Q. Nine months?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.

Q. Speaking of putting things together, your hard court game, what has to go right for you, what do you have to do specifically on this surface to be able to achieve what you want to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I don't know, just play my game. You know, it's hard, it's really hard to say. Just things that I'm going to change, it's not like I'm going to change my game dramatically going from one surface to another. I think the courts are playing a little quicker this year than they were last year, and also compared to Home Depot they're a lot faster. So that goes to my advantage as well.
But it's always important to be on your serve and for it all to go well. You know, that's important if you can get a few free points.

Q. Does it make a difference to your players, yourself, to see the ball when it's day or night because of the color of the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The blue, the color?

Q. Does it help you see it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think I could play if it's black or red (laughing).

Q. The fact that you are No. 1 now, does it put any additional weight on your shoulders? Do you feel like now you have to win, especially with the other Russians.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, I don't think it really puts extra pressure on myself because, I mean, just going from No. 2 to 1. But just the amazing achievement of being No. 1, I don't think it adds any extra pressure, it has nothing to do with that. It's just the fact that you're No. 1.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 08:27 PM   #194
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Sharapova 'not courting tabloids' in New York
Tuesday August 30 2005 0

NEW YORK: Tennis glamour girl Maria Sharapova says she has no intention of ruling the New York gossip pages during the US Open.

The Russian top seed did, however, make sure to get all of her corporate and sponsor appearances done and dusted during the week prior to the start of the Grand Slam, launching a Tag-Heuer watch with her name on it as well as a personal perfume line.

The upscale scent scenario seemed to make the biggest impression on the fashion-wise 18-year-old former Wimbledon winner.

Sharapova said: "It is basically my whole creation. I come up with the ingredients and the smell and everything. So it's not like they just gave me one and told me that I'm going to endorse it, no way.

"It was a very long process, nine months to actually put everything together."

The Russian says that while she appreciates the public acclaim, she's not seeking it though her every move - including a much-denied possible romance with Andy Roddick - will be tabloid fodder in Gotham over the fortnight.

"It's flattering, but my intentions are not to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing, do my appearances, not to be in a paper but if I am and if I end up at that place, then I'm very flattered," she said.

- - -

Maria better get used to being the NYC ragmag's darling because she and Andy Roddick have already been eating up most of the sports & gossip pages lately.

Not all of them are good though: in today's NY Post (a gossipy rag) it has a lovely pull-out section of Maria's fashion faux pas with the screaming headline "Queen of Tennis is no Queen of Fashion."

Still, any publicity is good publicity. When you ask the average joe six pack who doesn't watch tennis to name a famous female tennis player, he'll say Maria Sharapova.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 04:39 PM   #195
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Sharapova's delicate balancing act

By Patrick Hruby
ESPN.com





NEW YORK -- Maria Sharapova needs more money and fame the way Sean Combs needs another self-appointed nickname. Which is to say, not so much.

As the highest-paid -- and arguably most popular -- female athlete in the world, Sharapova could walk away from tennis tomorrow, swap her racket for lip gloss and comfortably sashay into the used-to-be-somebody netherworld of exhibition matches and FHM cover shoots.

Of course, Sharapova has forever insisted she has no interest in emulating Anna Kournikova. As such, her 6-1, 6-1 U.S. Open first-round dismissal of Eleni Daniilidou at Ashe Stadium on Monday night was simply the latest tilt on an increasingly familiar seesaw.

On one side? Sharapova's sport. On the other? Everything else.




Getty Images
Maria Sharapova was pumped in her first-round victory.




"It's very important to have a balance," said the top-seeded Sharapova last Saturday. "I mean, I was on the 'Today Show' at 9 a.m., then at 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was back on the practice court working for three hours and, you know, running on the treadmill and sweating my -- sweating like crazy.

"I'm thinking, 'Jesus, three hours ago I was on the "Today Show" with makeup and I looked amazing. Now I look like crap,'" she said.

For the fans and sponsors who have made the photogenic 18-year-old Russian the WTA's reigning It Girl, the last part is open to argument. Undebatable, however, is the extent to which Sharapova's life has changed since her unexpected Wimbledon triumph last year.

Once one of a half-dozen semi-anonymous Ovas -- toiling in the shadow of the Williams sisters and the Belgian duo of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne -- Sharapova is now the de facto face of women's tennis, recognized well beyond the grounds of the National Tennis Center.

Sharapova arrived in New York a week early and spent four consecutive mornings making corporate appearances -- afternoon practices followed. She enjoyed a Motorola-sponsored 18th birthday bash featuring Maroon 5, earned $20 million in endorsements last year and was on the cover of Forbes magazine in June. She even has an eponymous perfume scheduled to hit retailers next month.

The surest sign of Sharapova's newfound renown?

Speculation about her love life -- including a rumored relationship with ATP star Andy Roddick -- recently appeared in the Gotham tabloids.

"It's flattering, I guess," Sharapova said. "But I don't -- I'm not the kind of person that says, 'OK, I want to be on this page.' You know, my intentions are [not] to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing."

Sharapova's thing includes a daily conditioning run in Central Park -- so she claimed on Monday night -- with 50 Cent queued up on her iPod.

And against Daniilidou, the additional road work paid off. Recovering from a strained pectoral muscle that forced her to withdraw from a tournament in Carson, Calif, two weeks ago, Sharapova went from shaky to solid, dispatching a dangerous lurker who upset French Open champ Henin-Hardenne in the first round at Wimbledon.

Trailing 0-40 in her second service game, Sharapova hit a pair of aces and a swinging forehand volley to hold serve for a 3-0 first-set lead. Her lunging backhand pass in the next game left Danilidou applauding with her racket -- Sharapova celebrated with a fist pump -- and from there the match was a fait accompli.

"The first few games were a little tough," Sharapova said afterward. "Haven't played a lot of matches, so I'm just trying to get used to the conditions, the stadium, playing under the lights for the first time in a while. I really felt like I missed it. So it was a good feeling to be back on the court."

Whether Sharapova can keep her focus within the lines remains to be seen. In tennis, sudden stardom is nothing new. Nor are inevitable distractions, from Serena Williams' dalliances in acting and fashion design, or to what Andre Agassi once dubbed his "departures" from the sport.

Sharapova already has experienced the downside of heightened scrutiny. In June, a reporter for the London Daily Mail called her father, Yuri, a "greedy, domineering Tennis Father from Hell," claiming he demanded 10,000 pounds for an exclusive interview with Sharapova (and charitably, only 5,000 for a heartfelt one-on-one with dad).

Sharapova's father also was bashed publicly by No. 13 seed Anastasia Myskina, who last year said she would boycott Russia's Fed Cup team if Sharapova was put on the roster. Countrywoman and No. 5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova later echoed Myskina's comments, calling Sharapova "more American than Russian."

On Monday afternoon, Kuznetsova became the first defending women's Open champion to lose in the first round, falling 6-3, 6-2 to fellow Russian Ekaterina Bychkova. Afterward, Kuznetsova downplayed repored tensions among the WTA's Russian contingent.

"I think now it's got[ten] a little bit less," Kuznetsova said. "I feel it less. Last year it was much high for me, I know. It's really been pushing us up. Now, I think everybody's a bit tired."

If Sharapova was fatigued following her victory over Daniilidou, she didn't let it show. Still, her fitness is far from optimal: having grown an inch since March, she struggled with a sore back in the spring and played only two matches during the summer hard court season.

Skipping a mid-August tournament in Toronto, Sharapova spent a week in the Los Angeles area, working twice daily with a physical therapist to regain strength in her aching arm and chest.

Despite the layoff, she became the WTA Tour's top-ranked player on Aug. 22 -- a distinction that lasted all of one week as No. 2 seed Lindsay Davenport assumed the top spot on Monday.

The mental strain of being a marked player, Sharapova admits, has been nearly as trying as the physical strain placed on her still-growing body. During her run to last year's Wimbledon crown, Sharapova looked loose, hungry; in this year's Wimbledon semifinal loss to Venus Williams, her aggression was tempered by bouts of uncharacteristically tight play.

"It's not just a physical sport out there," she said.

"You know, I've gotten a little bit of everything in the last year, being a defending champion at Wimbledon. I thought I got through it pretty well. But it's hard to win when people expect you to win all the time.

"Right after I won Wimbledon, I thought I had to win every single match. It's just a matter of telling yourself that, you know, it's impossible to win everything no matter what people say. You can't control people's actions. You can't let anybody bother you."

If Sharapova is to balance tennis and everything else -- and take advantage of a decimated Open draw that won't have her facing a seeded player until the semifinals -- that much seems obvious. With one notable exception.

Just before Sharapova's match point against Daniilidou, a familiar male refrain rang out from the Ashe Stadium stands. We love you, Maria!

The feeling, Sharapova says, is mutual.

"It would be an amazing achievement [to win the Open]," Sharapova said. "I love coming back to New York. I love playing in front of these fans."

Money and fame? Covered. But a little bit of extra love? Even Sharapova can use that. Especially the tennis kind.
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