Tennis Prose



Biofile Maria Kirilenko Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former WTA tennis player reached a career high ranking of 10. Won six WTA singles titles and 12 in doubles. Won bronze medal in doubles for Russia in 2012 Olympics. Reached finals of French Open and AO in doubles. Last competed in 2014. Turned pro in 2001.

Ht: 5-8  Wt: 127

DOB: January 25, 1987  In: Moscow, Russia

First Tennis Memory:  “When I came to the club when I was seven-years-old and I came to one of the bigger clubs in Moscow – Dynamo. It was my first time. My father, he brought me there. We were expecting the coach would group me, like, if she likes me, she will take me – or I go home. And then when I came there I didn’t play tennis at all. I mean, I could hit some balls but it was a little bit strange technique. And coaches gave me some exercises to run, and this kind of stuff. And she said, Okay, I’m gonna take her. And everybody was surprised. And also, all the girls who were in the club, who were my age, already played for one year and everybody was laughing about me. Like, Why did you come here? Because you can’t play tennis. I was like, We will see later [laughs].”

Hobbies/Leisure Activities:  “Well, when I’m back at Moscow, I like to go to theater and be with friends. Also, maybe playing some golf as well. Reading, music and just to do some different stuff, like snowboarding, for example. I like to do something different.”

Nickname:  “Makiri.”

Tennis Inspirations:  “I like to play tennis since I was small and nobody push me. And I like to win the match because the feeling, especially when you beat the top players and when you win the tournament. It’s a feeling you couldn’t compare with others [smiles]. It’s great. I want to practice more and more and to be a better and better player.”

Favorite Movie:  “I like Butterfly Effect.”

Last Book Read:  “Twilight, the four books. I’m on the fourth one.”

Musical Tastes:  “Difficult to say. Like, I don’t like the one singer, I like many different songs. And last time I’m listening to Scorpions, I like those songs.”

Current Car:  “I don’t drive. I have a license but I’m not driving yet [smiles]. Dangerous in Moscow to drive [laughs]. Because of traffic, crazy drivers.”

Favorite Meal:  “Russian food.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  “Vanilla with walnuts.”

Pre-Match Feeling:  “Different things. Sometimes you’re completely not nervous. You have nerves sometimes. But I prefer to have some nerves, because you concentrate more on the game and you’re there from the first point.”

Greatest Sports Moment:  “Yeah I won China Open, first WTA title (d. Groenfeld 63 64 in 2005). And also the junior U.S. Open (2002) when I was under 18, when I was 15 years.”

Most Painful Moment:  “Yeah, losing in the first match in the Grand Slams. It’s always sad when you lose in the first round.”

Closest Tennis Friends:  “Maybe now it’s Sorana Cirstea and Marta Domochowska.”

Funniest Players Encountered:  “Women – nobody funny [laughs].”

Toughest Competitors:  “I don’t like to play with lefties.”

Funny Tennis Memory:  “Maybe in the moment when you’re going for a dropshot, you make it and then you go in the net [laughs]. And you’re losing the point. (When did it happen?) A few times in my career, I couldn’t stop before the net. I’m like, hanging.”

Favorite Players To Watch:  “Everybody [laughs].”

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