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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
She's only 11 so we'll have to wait a few years before she starts playing junior tournaments but she seems sooo impressive. She just won Eddie Herr U12 without dropping a set. After destroying almost all of her opponents she beat Tornado Ali Black 6:1 6:0 in the final.
She's originally from Kazakhstan but now represents USA.
Here's an interview with her:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiMEJbECx18
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

Wonderful! The United States is really building a solid future for tennis. Starting from about this year's "senior class" downward we have at least two-three girls who are solid in each graduating year.
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

Never heard of her :p
GL to her!! :bounce:
I think that she'll end up playing for KAZ since they are good at attracting players :(
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

Just curious - will American accept a "manufactured" player? Or do we REALLY want a home grown top 10?
For the record - IMG is backing this girl to a figure of $200,000 per year. They went to Eastern Europe - found a cute, blond, kid that could play a little, brought her over here, worked on her accent ( she literally has no Eastern European accent ), Supporting her and her mother full time. She trains all day with a private coach - NO GROUP LESSONS FOR THIS ONE! She has several lessons per week in front of the camera and they "socialize" her with the other kids so she has a cute
personality. They are correcting all of the issues with Sharapova. Remember when Sharapova first starting winning? She wasn't all that great in front of the camera. And since she was from Russia - the USA never really got behind her really strong. ( Except for supporting her as a great player.) This is the Bollettieri
"machine" at its best. She's definitely a good player. I want to be clear on that. I'm not criticizing her at all. Just wanted everyone's opinion on the
"playing for the USA" thing.
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

Maria Sharapova might as well be American. I bet she spends more time in the states than in Russia.

I'll accept any player that considers themselves and American. She has been raised here for so long that she considers America her home and that's good enough for me. Will the rest of America? As long as she's good, decent looking, and has a cute/nice personality, I don't think she'll have an issue.
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

I was just kidding becasue Kazakhstan has a history of stealing players from other countries :p
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Mariya Shishkina

Just curious - will American accept a "manufactured" player? Or do we REALLY want a home grown top 10?
For the record - IMG is backing this girl to a figure of $200,000 per year. They went to Eastern Europe - found a cute, blond, kid that could play a little, brought her over here, worked on her accent ( she literally has no Eastern European accent ), Supporting her and her mother full time. She trains all day with a private coach - NO GROUP LESSONS FOR THIS ONE! She has several lessons per week in front of the camera and they "socialize" her with the other kids so she has a cute
personality. They are correcting all of the issues with Sharapova. Remember when Sharapova first starting winning? She wasn't all that great in front of the camera. And since she was from Russia - the USA never really got behind her really strong. ( Except for supporting her as a great player.) This is the Bollettieri
"machine" at its best. She's definitely a good player. I want to be clear on that. I'm not criticizing her at all. Just wanted everyone's opinion on the
"playing for the USA" thing.
Thanks for sharing :eek: How do you know all that?
Looking at rankings of the youngest generation of American girls - that's the future of American tennis. So many of these girls come from Eastern Europe, some of them probably were born in USA (like Nefedova - I think).
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

I took my son to Bollettieri's a month or so ago. His interest level is at about a 6 or 7. He really enjoys soccer. My daughter however, is only 7 but is actually very good and absolutely loves the game. So as I spent my week there ( of which I will NEVER do again ) I was paying particular attention to the girls that were training there. So to answer your question of how I know this - unfortunately it was not hard to see. Its quite glaring the attention that is being paid to this little girl. And with a question or 2 here or there - the pieces of the puzzle came together. I am by nature very inquisitive and perceptive. Its quite apparent that the other kids that go there paying their $30K to 50K per year are simply paying this girls way to the top. (her or one or two like her I should say)

Overall -was very disappointed at Bollettieri's.

I do agree with you that kids from other countries that come to the USA may in fact be the future of american tennis. We have some very good kids coming thru so we will see.

Thanks for your input!
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

I took my son to Bollettieri's a month or so ago. His interest level is at about a 6 or 7. He really enjoys soccer. My daughter however, is only 7 but is actually very good and absolutely loves the game. So as I spent my week there ( of which I will NEVER do again ) I was paying particular attention to the girls that were training there. So to answer your question of how I know this - unfortunately it was not hard to see. Its quite glaring the attention that is being paid to this little girl. And with a question or 2 here or there - the pieces of the puzzle came together. I am by nature very inquisitive and perceptive. Its quite apparent that the other kids that go there paying their $30K to 50K per year are simply paying this girls way to the top. (her or one or two like her I should say)

Overall -was very disappointed at Bollettieri's.

I do agree with you that kids from other countries that come to the USA may in fact be the future of american tennis. We have some very good kids coming thru so we will see.

Thanks for your input!
Thank you very much for this info. I've heard a lot of stories about the "darker" side to Bollettieri's. I don't know if I could send my kids there either. Regardless of how he decides to run his academy, I hope it doesn't harm Mariya in any way.

Good luck to your daughter! Hope she succeeds in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Mariya Shishkina

Mariya lost in QF of Orange Bowl to Francoise Abanda (who is 1 year older) 6:7(8) 7:5 2:6. She must have been extremely tired in the 3rd set as she played already 2 matches (5 sets) yesterday. But well done anyway :yeah:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Re: Mariya Shishkina

She won U14 Florida sectional without dropping more than 6 games in any of her matches :yeah:
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

Very interesting. I hope they don't ride her too hard. It sounds like while tennis was chosen for her, she absolutely loves it and wants to be excellent. I hope she doesn't burn out.
 

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Re: Mariya Shishkina

Thanks for that :)
 

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Future shockEleven-year-old Maria Shishkina may soon tip the power balance
Nathaniel Welch

Tennis' next big thing trains on inflated exercise balls at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

This article appears in the June 28 issue of ESPN The Magazine.



There is a video on YouTube of 11-year-old Maria Shishkina staying balanced as she stands on a big, silver exercise ball. If you think it's easy, give it a shot. Then, once you can stand, try having a catch. Odds are, you'll fall -- and fall and fall and fall as you keep trying, only to finally give up in frustration. Shishkina, though, is calm, chatting and giggling as she tosses a ball back and forth with a coach, her bulging quads keeping her steady atop the unstable ball. Aside from her thick, blond ponytail, those quads are Shishkina's most defining feature -- and two reasons why this wisp of a child is tennis' next big thing.



On a brisk winter day in Bradenton, Fla., Shishkina's musculature is on full display as she practices on one of the many courts at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Her mother, Marina, watches, perched on four-inch stilettos. "Looking back, it's so funny," Marina says. "Four years ago, we came here right from the airport in a taxi. I didn't speak any English, but they had someone who could translate. They asked me why I had come. I told them, 'I need a scholarship. I've brought you a star.' I can say now, I was right."



We know, we know: Eleven is too young to give anyone the "star" tag. But those who know Shishkina well already call her the next Sharapova. Like that other Maria, this one left her home country (Kazakhstan) at a young age with just one parent in tow (dad Igor, an ex-boxer, has had problems getting a visa to the U.S.) to pursue tennis dreams in America. Like Sharapova, Shishkina is guided by the legendary Nick Bollettieri. And like the three-time major winner, this one-time Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships winner (U12) has a big-name clothing sponsor: this time, Under Armour.



The top dogs at Under Armour first fell in love with Shishkina last fall, when, on a tour of the Bollettieri facilities, they heard -- yes, heard -- her volleying. "It sounded like a pro," says Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. "She was this little girl with a twinkle in her eye, and she was just so physically mature." Shishkina has biceps and triceps to go with those quads, and her size 9 and a half shoes indicate she'll be tall. Though she's too young to lift weights, she spends five hours a day on the court and in the gym, working with resistance bands, doing yoga and soccer drills, roller-skating and playing basketball. "Her training platform is a good example of what we're trying to promote for all of our athletes," says Steve Battista, Under Armour's marketing chief.



In Shishkina, Under Armour sees an opportunity to make a big splash in tennis (the company accounted for just 4.4 percent of the tennis apparel market in 2009). Can Shishkina deliver a return on the investment, a five-year deal worth $350,000 plus bonuses? Too early to tell. Even the most successful female tennis prodigies don't start winning Slams until they reach their teens (Martina Hingis won three in 1997 at 16; Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 at 17), which means it could be years before we know for sure if Shishkina is the real deal. "Her whole viewpoint may change," says Bollettieri. "She may get injured. She may meet a boy."



At the moment, though, her priorities seem laser-focused on the court. "She has the whole game," says Bollettieri. "Slices, drop shots, swinging volleys, overheads, backhands, big offensive forehands and the serve." Shishkina -- who won the Eddie Herr in December, reached the quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl later that month and won a handful of smaller tourneys this spring -- is home-schooled to accommodate her training schedule. She has a work ethic that would put most pros to shame, and a bit of a swagger. She walks, chin up and chest out, like she's daring the world to take a swing. "Someday, I want people to say I changed the game of tennis or I was a legend or I was No. 1 for a long time or made records," she says. "It means a lot when people say I could be a star. It motivates me."



Of course, Shishkina also freely admits to liking puppies, playing Wii and having her mother courtside during matches. So she is still very much a little girl. Albeit one with very big quads.


Lindsay Berra is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=5289995
 
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