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Discussion Starter #1
I really like Maria Sharapova. I think she has alot of potential. But I'm a little concerned about her. Is it a mistake for IMG to market Maria Sharapova as the next Anna Kournikova? I think so. Because the beautiful and very young 14 year old Maria, says she wants to be different than Anna. They have some obvious similarities. I suppose that's why Maria is always compared to Anna. Both Maria and Anna are from Russia. They both left Russia to train at Bollettieri's, thanks to IMG. Maria and Anna are both very well spoken. Also, Maria and Anna are very attractive and they love fashion and doing photo shoots. And at 5'8" tall and 105 pounds, Maria has the model looks. And I guess that's where IMG's marketing power comes in.<br /> Maria has had a tremendous start to her ITF 18u career. She has won 3 of her first 5 18u tournaments. That's a great start! And now, two prestigious 18u tournaments are on the horizon for her. The Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl. Maria, if I'm not mistaken, has won the Eddie Herr 12u and 16u. So I quite naturally thought she would play the Eddie Herr 18u tournament. But no! IMG has her booked in an exhibition the same week as the Eddie Herr tournament. An exhibition that features Monica Seles and Anna kournikova. Maria will be on the undercard playing against another junior, Bethanie Mattek. Maria gave up playing the prestigious Eddie Herr 18u tournament to be on the undercard of a Seles/Kournikova exhibition match. Why? I don't get it. Is IMG already marketing Maria the same way they did Anna? It kind of looks that way. Look, I'm for anyone making as much money as possible. Especially someone from Russia, where there are tremendous financial struggles. But to have a 14 year old play on the undercard of a Seles/ Kournikova exhibition match, instead of a prestigious 18u tournament, is certainly questionable. Maria, if she stays healthy, is going to make many millions of dollars. There is no need to rush her into celebrity row. Is there? Maria says she has a very different personality than Anna's, and that she wants to be the #1 player in women's tennis. But recently, HBO's "Real Sports" had a short interview with Maria, and the first thing she talked about was Anna Kournikova, and Anna's inability to win a tournament. Then a couple of months later, "Rolling Stone" magazine had their "Hot" issue. And guess what? Maria Sharapova was featured as the "Hot Kournikova". To me, this has IMG's fingerprints all over it. In every feature article I've read about Maria, Anna Kournikova is mentioned. Maria doesn't want to be the next Kournikova. She has said that. But it seems to me that IMG is marketing her as the next Anna Kournikova. Which is supposedly against Maria's wishes. Would IMG do such a thing? I guess so. I know IMG is only doing its job. I adore Maria the "Russian Lynx" Sharapova, and I only want what's best for her. And I think that's being the best tennis player and person she can be. But in my opinion, no matter how beautiful and well spoken she is, it's just too soon to start marketing 14 year old Maria Sharapova as a beautiful tennis player, as "Real Sports" did, or as the next Anna Kournikova, as "Rolling Stone" did. Is IMG responsible for that? All opinions are encouraged.

P.S. - I first read about Maria Sharapova 4 years ago in "Tennis Week" magazine. The writer Paul Fein, referred to Maria as the "peanut sized" Russian. And I have read about her or seen her on television every so often. Maria is very charming and likable. I just hope IMG takes their time with her, and not over expose her at such a young age. I hope and trust IMG knows what they're doing. And they do what's best for Maria 's career, and not what's best for IMG's bank account.

P.P.S. - I hope Maria's parents, not just IMG, have a big say in Maria's career. Then, as she matures, I hope Maria will take full contol of her career, on and off the court. Udachi Maria!

[ November 20, 2001: Message edited by: the cat in the hat ]

[ November 22, 2001: Message edited by: the cat in the hat ]</p>
 

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Could be the experience of playing in a larger arena in front of a large crowd could be a good experience for an up and coming player.
 

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Masha's said her along that tennis is what she likes and she aims to succeed.

I hope she lives up to what she says , and as for things she says about Anna , its all in the mags/press , until you hear it from her own mouth , only then you can say she has said those things.
 

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IMG knows what its doing. And yes, its a mistake. IMG's job is to make Maria as much money as possible. Marketing her as Anna II can certainly accomplish that. But it sure won't help her tennis carer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You cats make some good points! Volcana, you have made the most important point of all. IMG's job is to make Maria Sharapova as much money as possible. But it could come at a cost. Such as too much fame at such a young age. Or possible over exposure. Again, thank you for your thoughts and time. Your time is my time, and my time is your time!
 
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if they market her as anna 2, and she fails....shell be a laughing stock and be banished from the sport forever.

so maybe it is a mistake because every failure will be exponentially damaging perhaps
 

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I have heard a few rumours that she thinks she is a very important player and that she is quite arrogant, so she will probably go far. Belief often overflows into arrogance, and hopefully the rumours aren't true. She certainly does seem to have potential.
 

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Very interesting article the cat in the hat!

I completely agree with Volcana. IMG isn't any stupid, the more marketing she has, the better for both (Masha and IMG), but an exhibition with Seles and Kournikova right at the Eddie Herr week! That's too much for a 14-year-old girl, who has worked most of her life to be a successful pro, skipping those big events, where she could really jump on the rankings and build confidence <img src="frown.gif" border="0"> <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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Wait. Wait. Wait. So marketing someone's looks hinders their performance on the court? I don't see the real correlation between the two. Does that mean if Anna was ugly, she'd have won a singles title by now? I personally don't think so. Anna would still play like Anna. Except she wouldn't have the looks. And she'd probably be injured more often. I think Anna concentrates just as hard on her tennis as any other girl. She is not modelling while she is playing a match or while she is in training, so I don't see how she'd be that distracted. I don't believe she takes the modelling and endorsements as seriously as her tennis. You cannot make the Top 10 by neglecting your tennis training for even a day. I don't see any harm in Sharapova being marketed in the same way. If she's any good in the future and can match up with her peers, she will be successful. Unfortunately for Anna, she was born with a frail body and has to contend with bigger and better talent. Good luck to Maria Sharapova. She won't be effected by IMG's marketing if she doesn't let it.
 

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It's a bit of a mistake, IMO, to market any player as being the next anyone. E.g. Anke Huber being marketed as the next Steffi. It just adds pressure which _can_ translate into losing one's nerve in a match. With Sharapova, she's way too young to have this much media coverage. She won't be playing on the proper tour till she's at least 16/17 and anything can happen in the next 2/3 years. Rather than being encouraged to focus on her looks/media coverage/exhibitions etc. she needs to be developing her game in a systematic manner.
 
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kudos to anna for being the first!!!!! <img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" />

for which all other tennis babes will be judged. go anna go anna go anna <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" /> <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" />
 

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Don't you even see the potential for conflict Braveheart? Anna is known for being a sex bomb rather than a tennis player. While she's had modest success, expectations were she's be more of a Venus Williams. And while I can't prove all her exhibitions and endorsements hurt her tennis, she has yet to prove she can handle the extracurricular stuff and be taken SERIOUSLY(top 10 seriously) as a tennis player.

Tennis has had its share of glamorous babes, but not one STARTED as a sex symbol THEN became a champ. It's always happened the other way around. Gussy Moran and Andrea Temesvari were pre-internet Annas, but forgotten today. If Anna goes the same way she'll be rich as sin in 20 years, but just a footnote like Gussie Moran.

Evert, Graf,Sabatini, and now Venus were or are being "sold" as sex symbols, but with a difference. <br />The difference was they acheived success on a tennis court first.

Just a little food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Even though she is from Russia, I hope Maria Sharapova and her family celebrate Thanksgiving in their Florida home. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday! I'm sure Maria has alot to be thankful for. I hope the "Russian Lynx" sinks her teeth into some turkey, stuffing and gravy! This is a way for the 5'8" 105 pound Maria to put on a couple of pounds. And Maria needs all the pounds she can get! Come to think of it, some mashed potatoes would be good for Masha, too! Udachi Maria!

P.S. - Rollo, you make some good points about former tennis glamour girls. That's why I want the beautiful Maria Sharapova to be admired because of her tennis, first and foremost.

[ November 22, 2001: Message edited by: the cat in the hat ]</p>
 

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here is my take on it.

To start with, I think Anna has had a good career so far: o'k she hasn't won a tournament yet, but she got top 10, which is not a small accomplishemnt, especially at the time when women's tennis is so competitive and being dominated by powerful players (which Anna isn't). Anna is only 20 yo, so she still will have plenty of chances to win tournaments. Maybe not multiple GS, but they will be some tournaments.

In any case (whether you think she a tennis failure or not) I would NOT blame IMG for this. Anna's parents are the ones to blame. They had a power to say no when some promoting events interrupted Anna's tennis schedule. They are to blamed for not recognizing that Anna needs lots of physical strenghtening. THEY are to be blamed! They and all those coaches and trainers at Bollitieri academy who didn't recognize the evident: Anna's body is very fragile.

The same goes to Masha: if she doesn't fullfil the promise, don't try to blame the marketing company. They are people around her who have the final say in all decisions (her parents). And if they fail to make the right choices, it's not IMG's fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tenn_ace, Vassilissa is your girl? Do you mean the young Russian junior girl, Vassilissa Bardina?

P.S. - Tenn_ace, tennis parents seem to let the agencies run their childs career. I hope Maria Sharapova's parents let her success and endorsements come naturally. That way, Maria probably won't be overwhelmed by fame. Udachi Maria!
 

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I was just curious and did a search. There are 150 threads with Sharapova's name in it and this is the oldest. Rather telling isn't it?
 

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yes it is but as already said there is an advantage of which is playing infront of bigger crowds than she probably would so she gets that extra experience.
 
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