Move over Maria, I'm going to be the new you
Evening Standard (London)
, Jun 27, 2005
by WILL STEWART
SHE has the same blonde ponytail, the identical ice-cool determination and a wicked double-handed backhand.
Is this the new Maria Sharapova?
It certainly could be for this is the Wimbledon women's champion's cousin Dasha, who is already being tipped for success even though she is only nine.
The similarities are not confined to their looks. Just like 18- year-old Maria, Dasha has a dominant father who barks orders to her on court and has taken her to America to improve her chances of success.
Dasha, the daughter of Maria's uncle Alexander, 38, is at the Evert Tennis Academy in Florida undergoing the same intensive training that Maria and fellow Russian Anna Kournikova went through before her.
American tennis experts say she shows more poise on court than any other girl of her age and that she has a crisp forehand, an accurate, two-handed backhand and a strong first serve.
They are supported by her original coach in Sochi - Yury Yudkin, the man who discovered Maria or "Masha".
"Dasha is a real gem," said Yudkin.
"She is now very close to the standard which Maria was playing at her age.
"She is a very exciting prospect indeed, like Maria was when I first saw her. There are many similarities between her and Maria, with the same rational movements and brilliant technique. Their serves are identical. They look very similar, as if they're siblings, not cousins."
He added: "Of course, Dasha follows Masha closely and is inspired by what she has achieved."
His one criticism is that Dasha started playing tennis at six, not four.
"Really you need to start at four," he said.
Maria has described Dasha as "very good at tennis" and "very cute".
Dasha said: "I dream about repeating Masha's success, of course I do."
Is this the family aim? "Yes," replies her father.
So watch out for the name Sharapova again in the Wimbledon women's final of 2013 - and maybe even two of them.
(c)2005. Associated Newspapers Ltd.. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.