Sport Magazine: Q&A

Sport Magazine: Q&A

The five-time Grand Slam winner takes our very special Q&A…

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?
“Probably Gwyneth Paltrow. I’ve always admired her in her films, and she comes across as very classy and elegant.”

What’s your first sporting memory?
“Playing tennis against a young junior back in Sochi on a clay court. Sochi was where I first started playing tennis with my dad, when I was about four.”

If you could only watch three sports for the rest of your life, what would they be?
“Tennis, basketball and soccer. I like team sports and I like fast-scoring sports – that’s why tennis and basketball are top of the list. I enjoy watching Miami Heat and LA Lakers.”

Do you have any hidden talents?
“I can sing pretty well, actually. I like to sing Cher a lot at karaoke.”

Have you ever been star-struck?
“I met Michael Jordan at a private terminal airport in Miami. We kind of got out of our cars at the same time and I couldn’t quite believe that it was him in front of me.”

What’s the most ridiculous rumour you’ve read about yourself?
“There are too many to name them all here.”

Who’s the most talented player you’ve played against?
“Monica Seles. I played her in Indian Wells in 2002 and she beat me 6-0, 6-2. I was only 14 at the time, but I learned a lot from that match. It really showed me how big the difference is between playing as a junior and a pro. She had such a positive attitude about her. She was really inspiring.”

Have you ever had a nickname?
“In Russian they call me ‘Masha’, which is the Russian name for Maria.”

What would you change about tennis?
“I’d bring more entertainment to the sport. I just mean more engagement with the audience – so a lot of cool music, great DJs, that kind of thing. I think it’s great to have a cool ambience in the middle of the match.”

What’s your favourite travel destination?
“Anywhere sunny and warm with a beach for me to lay on. I’m not too fussy.”

What’s your favourite film of all time?
“Something’s Gotta Give with Jack Nicholson. He’s always great, I always look forward to his films. They’re always really fun to watch.”

What do you enjoy most and least about training?
“I enjoy the process of getting better. I don’t enjoy the grind and the early hours of it.”

Tell us something not many people know about you?
“I love going to comedy shows. I just love to laugh – it’s nice, because we’re so serious in most of our day jobs and lives.”

What’s been the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career?
“Having shoulder surgery in 2008 to repair a torn rotator cuff. I ended up missing almost 10 months of tennis, which was pretty tough for me.”

Do you have any fears or phobias?
“I don’t like dentists or spiders.”