Our investigative correspondent Emily reported this link from Ukrainian web site yesterday. Great job as usual, Emily!
Here are some excerpts from the interview with Maria Kirilenko, who is currently in Istanbul competing together with Nadia Petrova in doubles...
Maria Kirilenko, the world star of women's tennis, almost never gives interviews, protecting herself from the invasion in her private life. And it actually stirs more interest in her persona, as she had the best career season (taking the bronze in doubles at the Olympics in London) along with the first anniversary of living together with the most famous Russian hockey player Alexander Ovechkin.
Their romance, which started suddenly when Masha was still dating another person, was predicted to be a short one because Ovi does not date girls for a long time. But during the Kremlin Cup tournament that just ended, he not only actively supported her in the stands, but also presented her with a chic diamond ring. And indeed the tennis star confessed that the lovers are on the same wavelength and have no plans for separation.
Maria, are you well versed in hockey now? How often can you manage to get to the games with Sasha?
(Ovechkin could be handed a prize of the most active fan of Kremlin Cup. He only missed two Masha's games when he played himself in Mytishchi and Yaroslavl. On all other days he supported his favorite girl so loud and recklessly, that he inadvertently took away all of the viewers' attention. At the VIP section Sasha was accompanied by his father and mother, who were also rooting for Masha, raising hands after she would win her set, or, on the contrary, covering their face after the lost one...)
Yes, I try to attend all Sasha's games as much as possible if I don't play myself. Of course I know what the shootout is! It was during the Kremlin Cup that I had a free day, and I went to the Dynamo vs Siberia game. In that game one of the opponent's players fell because of Sasha, and we got penalty shootout. Fortunately they didn't score, but Dynamo still lost that game. I was very disappointed, like the whole team, I guess.
Does Alexander know tennis better now because of you?
Oh, he already knew all the rules, what is there to understand? (Maria smiled and glanced at her diamond ring.)
Do you feel that the support of a loved one helps you in carrying out one of the best seasons in your career?
Yes, I feel that. I am very pleased and it is important that he is cheering so hard for me and supports me.
Masha, Russian men's tennis is in a tailspin. Can you maybe convince Ovechkin try his hand at tennis, especially because he knows it?
Yes, indeed, we have big problems with men's tennis. One of the reasons is our juniors. Sometimes it's a lack of talented people, and sometimes the talents lacks support from the federation. There is simply no money and there's nothing that can be done. As for Sasha... (Laughs) You know, he's too busy in the KHL, but we had never even talked about it. We hardly discuss any sport with each other, we have a lot to talk about without it. We have so many topics of conversation, we can easily find a common language and understand each other perfectly. And I am very pleased that his parents also come to cheer for me.