Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova moved to the United States at a very young age and that played a big role in her becoming a tennis pro and eventually one of the best players in the world. Martina Navratilova, a former world No.
1, saw Sharapova when she was just 5 and immediately told her father to move to the United States as there they would have much better conditions. Sharapova moved to Florida, where she was trained by legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.
“Both of my parents are actually from Belarus, and because of the Chernobyl explosion and my mother was pregnant with me at the time, they moved to Siberia, so I was born there. At the age of two, we moved to Sochi, a much more comfortable city, and that’s where I started playing tennis,” Sharapova said on the Never Stand Still podcast.
“At the age of five, I went to this little clinic in Moscow that was held by Martina Navratilova and she told my father we need to get out of Russia. These circumstances for an athlete are much better in the US, particularly in Florida, and my father never looked back.
He talked to my mom. She took a huge chance, and my father and I went to Florida on a plane without her. “In hindsight, I think those are the years that shape your story. I was so lucky that I did fall in love with this sport with hitting forehands and backhands”.
Sharapova: If I didn’t feel pressure, I’d be worried
Sharapova noted that feeling the pressure when you enter the court is “normal” but added that it’s the strong mindset that helps you overcome everything on the court.
“When you get to a stadium court, of course, you are gonna feel the pressure. If I didn’t feel pressure, I’d be worried; you have to overcome the butterflies, those moments of uncertainty no matter what stage you are in your life, so having my feet on the ground, but because my parents helped shape my mindset, it was really important,” Sharapova explained.
“My mom reminded me that no matter how successful I became, it was about entertainment for me, it was about the impact and the improvement that I was making every single day.”
Maria Sharapova is impressed by her own popularity after viral tweet
Is it possible for superstars to be impressed by their own popularity despite having lived under the spotlight for a long time? Apparently, Maria Sharapova still hasn’t gotten used to her success. On April 3, the Russian shared her cell phone number with her Twitter followers and asked them to text her, explaining that a big part of her wish is due to the fact that “we’re all in this separation, this physical-distancing [thing] together”.
The response from the five-time Grand Slam champion’s fans was immediate and the video received over 60,000 views in barely two hours. But leave it to social media to exponentially increase statistics… Not even two days later, Sharapova posted a new message on her account in which she expressed her surprise at the traction generated by her video.
“2.2 million views in 40 hours,” she wrote. Before inserting a GIF of a woman frantically typing on her cell phone keyboard, she added, “My current phone status…”
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) April 5, 2020
Not only did I just get a 310 number( hello cool cats🌴)but I’m sharing it with you—Text me! 310-564-7981. For real. Tell me how you’re doing, ask me questions, or just say hello 👋🏼 Any great recipes welcome too 😉#community pic.twitter.com/JNCuGzJXRS
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) April 3, 2020
Many from all over the world have requested that she get WhatsApp or at least that she share a way in which they could reach her. Others, who have been lucky enough to be able to text her, are still waiting for an answer. Four days after being posted, the video had climbed up to over 3.7 million views.
John McEnroe has suggested that Rafael Nadal gets special treatment from umpires over his slow service routine
John McEnroe has suggested that tennis superstar Rafael Nadal gets special treatment from umpires.
The tennis legend made the claim while speaking to Insider last month about superstitions he had on the court during his playing career.
“I didn’t have any major superstitions,” said McEnroe. “Sometimes, I’d step on lines on odd games and not step on the same lines in deuce games, or I’d mismatch outfits on purpose because I was winning that way.
“It was those sort of things. I wasn’t nearly as bad as Rafa.”
The American went on to reference Nadal’s famous serving routine, in which before each serve, the Spaniard places his hair behind his ear, pulls his nose and adjusts his shorts while bouncing the ball numerous times.
“Rafa has got his ritual that takes 30 seconds every time he plays a point,” he said. “If you’re that great you can get away with it.
“That’s one of the incentives of being the best — you get away with more, as evidenced by what I did at times on the court and what he does, in a totally classier way, though. Obviously, he’s not out there screaming at people or anything.”
McEnroe isn’t the first person to suggest Nadal is given preferential treatment by umpires over his slow style of play.
At the Australian Open in January, Canadian player Denis Shapovalov said the 35-year-old “100%” gets special treatment, after losing to Nadal in the quarterfinals.
“I think it’s unfair how much Rafa is getting away with,” Shapovalov said after the defeat. He had twice complained to umpire Carlos Bernardes about how much time Nadal was taking between points during the match.
Players are allowed 25 seconds between points and two minutes between sets, all timed by a shot clock.
“Every other match that I have played, the pace has been so quick because the refs have been on the clock after every single point,” said Shapovalov.
“This one, after the first two sets, it was like an hour and a half just because he’s dragged out so much.”
He added: “I respect everything that Rafa has done, and I think he’s an unbelievable player. But there have got to be some boundaries, some rules set.
“It’s just so frustrating as a player. You feel like you’re not just playing against the player; you’re playing against the umpires, you’re playing against so much more.”
In reply to the Canadian’s claims, Nadal said: “I believe he is wrong in this case.”
A representative for Nadal, when presented with McEnroe’s comments, responded: “The time between points are timed by a clock that both players, umpire and public can see. If any player goes below the rules time allow they automatically get a warning. So I don’t really see anymore the discussion about this matter.”
Novak Djokovic reveals family inspiration as son fires tennis career off to winning start
NOVAK DJOKOVIC’s son won his first club tournament.
Novak Djokovic lifted his sixth Italian Open title on Sunday on what was a special day for his family, as his seven-year-old son was busy winning his own tournament at home in Serbia. The world No 1 revealed after his victory that his son Stefan was playing his first club tournament and has since confirmed that he was victorious, admitting that Stefan had even inspired his own tennis and reminded him of his childlike love for the sport.
Djokovic Feeling The Love At Roland Garros
Wherever Novak Djokovic goes, a crowd is sure to follow.
From standing-room only practises to throngs of fans asking for autographs as he makes his way through the grounds at Roland Garros, the defending champion has been a top draw in Paris for more than 15 years. But after COVID restrictions limited attendance to 1,000 spectators daily for the 2020 event and peaked at 8,500 for last year’s men’s singles final, packed crowds are a welcome sight for the top seed.
“It’s great to see the crowd back [and] the full capacity on all courts. Lots of young people, lots of kids, this is something that I really love to see,” said Djokovic. “It always gives you energy. For me at this stage of my career, a crowd and this energy of people coming to watch me play is one of the biggest reasons why I keep on competing [and] playing professional tennis.
“I think the improvements and facilities in the last few years have been great… It’s great that the tournament is recognising the importance of investing back in the facilities and trying to improve the experience for everyone.”
Djokovic has always been energised by a vocal audience and that has reflected in his performances so far this fortnight. The Serbian is through to the third round without dropping a set, scoring a convincing 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Alex Molcan to reach this juncture of the tournament for the 17th consecutive year.
“I’m pleased with the way I’m feeling on the court [and] the way I’ve been striking the ball,” said Djokovic. “I think today was also under challenging conditions and playing against a specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent and coming off from the [Lyon] final last week. It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well.”
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