here it is
ďThe second KournikovaĒ- thatís how sheís sometimes called because of the fact that they look a bit alike. But associations are strictly individual. She reminds me of Monica Seles- extremely loud grunts after both hard and not very hard shots. And Lleyton Hewitt for determination to win. On the court you can now see a special Sharapova game. But at the moment Maria is not very different from the girls her age. Hopefully her best tennis is ahead of her.
So why are why taking this interview with her and not with other Russian quarterfinalists of the girls Wimbledon tournament- not less promising or nice/attractive Bastrikova, Douchevina, Linetskaya, Kirilenko? Iím ready to explain. Well, first of all, in January 14 y/o Masha (she turned 15 in April) reached the finals of the junior Australian Open, where many of her opponents were 3 years older than her, and in March after receiving a wild card at Indian Wells reached the second round losing to Monica Seles. Secondly, the tennis player and her parents havenít really had an ordinary life. And thirdly Sharapova is the biggest hope of a famous management company.
She came to the interview with her agent who politely asked me to talk to her in English. Itís not that Maria forgot her mother tongue- he just wanted to know how sheíll answer the questions. I had to introduce myself. After finding out that I was from Sport-Express he let me speak Russian with her.
Interviewer: So lets begin. Where were you born?
M.S: My parents used to live in a Gomel in Belarus. But not long before my mom got pregnant the Chernobyl happened. My dad changed work and we moved to Siberia. There in a small town Niagan I was born.
At what age did you start playing?
When I was 4 and a half.
No, in Sochi, where we moved by that time
What do your parents do?
My dad is an engineer. Heís always loved tennis and knew Kafelnikovís father. My mom was on maternity leave while I was small.
Do you remember your first coach?
Of course. Itís Yuri Yutkin.
At what age did you come to America?
At about 7.
And where do you practice now?
50/50 in California with Robert Landsdorp and in Florida where I have a house and where I often train in the Bolletieri Academy.
Iíve heard your father asked Bolletieri to accept you to the Academy?
No, we didnít plan it. But when we came to America to have an opportunity for me to play tennis, different coaches told Nick about me. Thatís how we met.
Whatís your main aim in tennis?
My dream is to be healthy, to play how I like and to be number one.
Is tennis like a job for you?
Yep, itís a job. But instead of going to the office I go to the tennis courts- to practice or to play tournaments. But I love playing.
Do you know your best qualities and what you still donít have in your game?
At the moment I need to work physically more. When I play older players I feel thatís a minus in my game. Strong parts of my gameÖhavenít thought about it (Pause) I like to hit forehands down the line
You are often being compared to other players. Does it bother you?
No. I respect them for what theyíve done to tennis. But I prefer to stay Sharapova.
Do you have any tennis heroes?
You donít look as aggressive on court as off itÖ
Well, there when you want to win a point you have to pump yourself up
Your loud grunts- is it a psychological weapon against your opponents?
(Smiling) No, it just happens.
Do you talk to any other Russian players?
Sometimes. I live in America , and during the tournaments I have to concentrate on my tennis, so I donít have much time to communicate
I know that Myskina works in California for some time with the same coach as you
Yes, I know her.
Are you planning to change you Russian citizenship?
My parents work on these subjects. Personally I havenít thought about it. I have Russian blood, at home I speak Russian and feel that Iím Russian, not American. Though sometimes when I come to Russia, itís very unusual. Russia is really different from America.
Have you ever been invited to the Russian junior team?
Once, but I had different plans then (a tournament) and couldnít play.
At Indian Wells you felt you could play even with players from the first 100?
Yes. I really liked it there. Of course when I played Monica I was nervous- it was the centre court and Monica as an opponent. During that match we had some great rallies and I really enjoyed it.
Do you plan to play grown up tournaments again?
Yes, probably at Indian Wells again
But thatís only next year and before that?
If I get an opportunity - of course. That helps to develop my game.
How do you study?
I go to school in America and get tasks from the Internet. I also study Russian and Literature with my mom.
What are you interested in besides tennis?