Annals of Shamapova

Well, at least she's still got her looks . . . er . . . that's not a hint of mustache we spy, is it?  Did anyone say Maria ShaROIDpova?

Well, at least she's still got her looks . . . er . . . that's not a hint of mustache we spy, is it? Did anyone say Maria ShaROIDpova?

If we told you than none of the top 5 seeds made it as far as the semi-finals in last weeks WTA tour event in Los Angeles, California, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that three of those five, including the top two, were Russians. None of the players ranked #2-#6 in the world even showed up, so the going was hardly difficult. 

But the Russians still couldn’t hang.  Least of all Maria Sharoidpova.

#1 seed Dinara Safina lost her second match of the tournament to the #14 seed, from China.

#2 seed Vera Zvonareva at least did better than Russia’s so-called “best” player, managing to win two matches before being dismissed by the #10 seed, from Italy.

But #5 seed Nadia Petrova, who only won her first match because of a walkover, went down in her second match just like Safina had done, losing to the same Russian-killing Italian who would dispatch Zvonareva.

This left Maria Sharapova as the only Russian in the semi-finals with no player ranked in the world’s top 14 left to defeat.  Only half of the world’s top ten players even showed up at the tournament, and not one the five who did got as far as the semifinals. It was as if the tournament had been rigged for Sharapova to win (in the same way that Wimbledon rigged its draw to give Sharapova a free seed she did not deserve, something even the LA event was not willing to do).  

And yet, she still could not close the deal.

With Russians at the top of the draw, the tournament had quickly become yet another unwatchable train wreck, much like this year’s French Open. And indeed, if you tried to visit the tournament’s website on Saturday afternoon before the semis were contested, this is what you saw:


Points for shamelessness, no?  See her do what?  Lose yet again to a second-rate opponent? Watch her double fault over and over and over, handing innumerable break points to her rival?   And you want us to pay how much for that privilege?   Shamapova served sixteen — that’s right, sixteen — double faults, four full free games to her opponent.  Her serve was broken five times.  She was out-classed in every aspect of the game by a player who is virtually unknown.

Get this:  three of Sharapova’s four matches en route to the semi finals came against unseeded opponents.  Her only serious challenger came in her second-round duel with the tournament’s #3 seed, where she managed to squeak out a three-set victory.

And she still could not win the lowly second-rate tournament and was slaughtered by the same #10-seeded Russian-killer who took out both Zvonareva and Petrova.

* * *

As if to add insult to injury, the Moscow Times reports that in Putin’s Russia, only the rich can play tennis (little wonder, then, that so many of Russia’s professional players leave the country for other shores:

Anyone who looks at the top 10 female tennis players in the world right now might think that Russia is a paradise for the sport. The country has the No. 1 player in the world, Dinara Safina, and another four in the top 10. But try and get a game in the city, and you are soon struggling.  [LR:  Maybe if you actually looked at what these players do on the court, madam reporter, it wouldn’t be such a surprise!]

There are public tennis courts in many European countries and the United States where anyone can play for free, but renting a tennis court in Moscow means paying through the nose.

“Tennis is definitely a sport for wealthy people,” said Ivan Budanov, owner of the outdoor tennis courts in Yekaterininsky Park, where courts cost 1,000 rubles ($31.50) to 1,200 rubles ($38) per hour.

“In the Soviet Union, playing tennis was free for everyone, but there were not enough courts by far,” said Vladimir Lazarev, chairman of the Russian Tennis Federation. Today it is better, he said, because there are many more courts.

The federation runs a program to help the country’s young, talented tennis players, and it has had great success — but that is of little comfort to the causal player who, having seen the French Open and Wimbledon, fancies bumbling around a court on a sunny summer day.

When Lazarev was asked if there were any free courts in Russia, he could only come up with a tennis complex in Penza, a town 600 kilometers southeast of Moscow. And even they charge a “symbolic” fee of about a dollar, he said.

“I am very unhappy about today’s insane prices for tennis courts,” said tennis coach Valentina Modnova, who has seen two of her students move to Germany or Spain, where playing and coaching is much more affordable.

“Rich people in Moscow don’t count their money. They probably enjoy being among themselves at the courts,” she said.

If you are unwilling to make the journey to Penza or stump up 1,000 rubles a go, then there are a few options. The Moscow Times has found four central courts for prices between 250 rubles ($8) and 600 rubles ($19).

The courts aren’t necessarily in the best conditions nor are the changing facilities, but they are cheaper.

18 responses to “Annals of Shamapova

  1. I’ll take mercy on you LR, and will leave the only comment on yet another useless story that stinks so much of your own issues, which obesity and inability to attract the opposite sex are not the least of, that even your loyal russophobic vermin won’t touch.


    Actually, you’re mistaken. Our posts about Sharapova are quite popular and attract 100-200 visits per day. Our last ten posts about Sharapova have collected more than 50 comments. What’s more, our post about ugly Russian female players currently has nearly 30 comments:

    And thanks for confirming that the many posts on this blog which have more than 100 comments each, something matched by no other Russia politics blog on the planet, are therefore wonderful.

    Moron. Do you think at all before you write such total nonsense?

  2. By the way Sharapova and all of the other Russian female tennis player are HOT! Compare them to the twin-transvestite-look-alike sisters. Brrrr!!! I guarrantee you 90% of American men would agree with me.


    The photographic evidence proves you wrong:

    What’s more, you couldn’t help posting THREE comments on this thread. Looks like the post is a little more compelling than you suggested, huh?


  3. Slava Metreveli

    You know how the home team always tends to do better that the away team? Well, let us see how our American women fared in Los Angeles:

    In the top 32 players there were 2 Americans and 9 Russians .

    In the top 16 players there were 0 Americans and 5 Russians. That’s right: zero Americans!

    American women won a total of 2 matches. That’s right: a total of two matches for the entire home team! Yikes!

    In fact, there are a total of only 5 American players in the top 100 WTA ranked players, one of whom – Varvara Lepchenko – was born and grew up in Uzbekistan in the Soviet Union and became a US citizen only 2 years ago.

    Compare that to 13 Russians, 3 Belarusans, 3 Ukrainians, 2 girls from Kazakhstan (both Russian by language, culture and ethnicity) in the top 100.

    And keep in mind that USA is more than twice larger than Russia and more than 30 times larger than Belarus.
    > in Putin’s Russia, only the rich can play tennis

    And yet, USA, where presumably even the poor can play tennis, produces the same number of top 100 female players as the tiny Belarus and Kazakhstan combined. Yikes! And that’s if we count Varvara Lepchenko, who was trained in the ex-USSR, as an American!

    BTW, when I lived in Manhattan, I used to play at the Midtown Tennis Club. Their rates are typical for Manhattan: $220 per court per hour in prime time and “only” $150 per hour during the day. I wonder how many poor people can afford that….


    Why do you try to change the subject from Russians to Americans? Is it because you know we’re right about Russians? We think so.

    Americans have won two out of three grand slam titles so far this year and have two of the top five players. Those two player are FAR greater and more popular than all the Russians put together. Any person with knowledge of the sport knows that. Nobody wants to watch the Russians, they are a joke. Russia’s so-called “number one” has embarrassed herself in all three grand slam contests this year, and was blown off the court in humiliating fashion at the Australian Open by an American. Do you know ANYTHING about tennnis, freak?

    A court at MTC costs $92 per hour at most, you shameless liar. Often much less:

    Americans earn $20 per hour and Russians earn $3 per hour on average. You figure it out.

    NYC also has PLENTY of free courts. Moscow has NONE. And then let’s talk about other smaller cities, which are FULL of free courts whereas in Russia you can’t even find paid ones.

    Your lies make Russia look like a nation of apes. We do thank you, however, for making AKM look like a total fool.

    • LR wrote:
      > Nobody wants to watch the Russians

      Oh please. Without a doubt, the most desirable woman tennis player people want to watch is Maria Sharapova. You yourself have devoted most of your life to watching Maria’s every step and writing dozens and dozens of articles about her.

      Maria is under the skin of almost all tennis fans. The difference between you and the rest of the tennis fans is that you hate having her under your skin – so you lash out at her in helpless anger, while the rest of the fans enjoy watching her and wish her a soon recovery from her debilitating shoulder injury.
      Starting in 2007, Sharapova began to suffer from a right shoulder injury, which forced her to withdraw from numerous tournaments during the season. Although she won her third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open at the beginning of 2008 and returned to the World No. 1 position later in the year, her shoulder problems eventually resurfaced, with Sharapova ultimately undergoing surgery for the injury in October 2008. Sharapova did not return to the sport until May 2009, having been out for ten consecutive months, and as a consequence had dropped out of the top 100 on the rankings. Since returning, Sharapova’s standing has recovered to World No. 49.
      In April 2005, People named her one of the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In 2006, Maxim ranked Sharapova the hottest athlete in the world for the fourth consecutive year.

      > then let’s talk about other smaller cities, which are FULL of free courts whereas in Russia you can’t even find paid ones.

      Russian children grow up on hte wisdom of the Feildmarshall Suvorov’s famous saying: “You win by skill not by numbers”. Russians may not be rich enough to have a lot of tennis courts, but even this small number of courts makes Russia, along with other Slavic republics, by far the most prolific producer of top female tennis players.

      • Thats funny, in my experience they grow up with the Russian proverb “quantity has a quality all its own”

        Besides, Suvorov also said “The bullet is an idiot, but the bayonet is a fine fellow” which kind of casts a great deal of doubt on his generalship.

        • Andrew, given that you know nothing about the Russian culture and hate it passionately, not even about the most famous literature character Ostap Bender (who also happens to be one of the most popular characters in Georgia too), any pronouncement on the Russian culture by you is not to be trusted.

          In particular in this case. There is no Russian proverb “quantity has a quality all its own”.

          You are probably confusing it with on of the concepts in philosophy developed by the great German philosopher Hegel and further extended by Marx: the transition from quantity to quality:

          The transition from quantity to quality: A neglected causal mechanism in accounting for social evolution

          Robert L. Carneiro

          Students of social evolution are concerned not only with the general course it has followed, but also with the mechanisms that have brought it about. One such mechanism comes into play when the quantitative increase in some entity, usually population, reaching a certain threshold, gives rise to a qualitative change in the structure of a society. This mechanism, first recognized by Hegel, was seized on by Marx and Engels.

          German philosophy and Russian proverbs are not the same thing, Andrew.

          And speaking of Suvorov’s sayings, more than 200 year ago he gave his soldiers advice that sounds like something that should become a motto for modern healthy living and for life extension: “Keep you head in cold, stomach – in hunger, and feet – in warmth”.

          And as far as his abilities and accomplishments go – your remind me of that pug Moska that kept on barking at an elephant in order to make herself more important:

          Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov was the fourth and last generalissimus of the Russian Empire. One of the few great generals in history who never lost a battle. His soldiers adored him. He had a great simplicity of manner, and while on a campaign lived as a private soldier, sleeping on straw and contenting himself with the humblest fare.


          Why are you posting using different names? That is not allowed here. Pick one name and stick with it. Next time you do it, you’re banned for life.

        • Maybe if you knew something about the accuracy of rifles during Napoleonic War you wouldn’t make such an ignorant comment.

          • Actually, Baker rifles were very accurate during the Napoleonic wars. They were issued to elite units such as the 95th (Rifles) and 60th (Royal North American Rifles) and these regiments were honoured with green jackets.

            The vast, overwhelming majority of casualties were inflicted by smoothbore muskets.

            Smoothbores individually were not particularly accurate past 80 metres, but fired in volley they would decimate large formations of infantry at up to 300 metres.

            Look at the performance of British infantry in the Spanish campaign, where they shot to ribbons French columns, or at Waterloo.

            Next in lethality (but higher in moral effect) was artillery.

            Bayonets come way down the list.

            Contrary to popular belief, bayonet fighting was very uncommon in the period.

            Obviously your understanding of Napoleonic tactics is lacking AKM.

            In addition, the British 4th division at Inkerman in 1854, were armed with smoothbore muskets (1842 pattern with percussion cap), but they still decimated by fire their Russian opponents who attempted to close with the bayonet.

      • TOM:

        Your “comment” is really quite idiotic. If you are suggesting tennis fans were impressed by the all-Russian final at this year’s French Open, you are sick in the head. The match was a TOTAL DISASTER from start to finish, and anyone who paid to watch it felt ripped off. Say what you like about Sharpapova, but the REST OF THE RUSSIANS are totally unwatchable, a disgrace to the sport.

        As for Sharapova, she doesn’t even live in Russia, but in the United States. She never spends any time in Russia, and speaks English on the court. She’s hardly Russian.

        There may well be fans who find her pretty, but her peformance has always been pathetic, long before her injury. If you can’t do us the courtesy of reading the posts on this blog that document her failure chapter and verse, you have no right commenting. Makes you look like an illiterate ape.

        • Dear LR,

          Tom’s comment is idiotic because Tom = photophobe. [“They” are one and the same.]


          You’re right! Same IP numbers. What a psycho.

  4. Slava, imagine what would happen if tennis in Russia became even more affordable? If wholesome rural Russian girls were added to the pool of players. Williams sisters wouldn’t stand a chance. It would be total domination of women’s tennis.


    Imagine if you joined us in criticizing the Russan government for failing to make that happen!

    Imagine if you apologize for claiming this post wouldn’t have any other comments!

    Imagine if you weren’t such a brainless ape.

  5. Thats the problem LR. If only you criticized the Russian government. What does Sharapova and her looks have to do with the Russian GOVERNMENT? You criticize the Russian PEOPLE, and then you wonder how every Russian who reads your blog is turned off.


    Your simply lying, again.

    We’re one of the most popular Russia blogs on the planet, and have by FAR the most comments of any Russia politics blog. Many commenters agree with us, and many authorititative sources (like the New York Review of Books) cite us.

    Where’s YOUR criticism of the Russian government? We don’t see it, hyporcrite!

    Russians are responsible for what goes on in their country. They are not victims. We call them to account.

  6. Trying to spot Sharapova’s facial hair is your idea of “calling Russians to account for Putins regime”? You gotta be kiddin me. You’re dillusional LR. RUSSIANS dont care how many commenters you have. You’re a useless resentful hatemongering lunatic. Nothing more. And there I thought you actually wanted to make a difference. Pathetic.

  7. LR linked to her earlier attempt at denying the beauty of Russian girls:

    LOL. Compare Sharapova, Dementieva or even Safina with the Williams sisters, Davenport and Mauresmo – and draw your own conclusions:

  8. Continued:

    Or look at other Russian players:

    But why focus on tennis? As Russian women start excelling in American sports, they bring beauty to them too. So, now a Russian golf player is challenging Maria Sharapova:
    The Huffington Post

    Maria Verchenova vs. Maria Sharapova: Which Russian Is Hotter? (SLIDESHOW, POLL)

    Other great Russian female athletes are also highly popular:

    Yelena Isinbaeva is a two-time Olympic Gold Medallist (2004 and 2008), was named Female Athlete of the Year by the IAAF in 2004, 2005 and 2008, and World Sportswoman of the Year by Laureus in 2007 and 2009.
    Swiss world No.1 tennis player Roger Federer has been chosen as European Sportsman of the Year for the second time in succession and Russian pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbaeva took the women’s award in the 22nd annual UEPS poll.

  9. Tom, all I can say is that Ashley Harkelroad is far far hotter than Sharaputa and her ilk.,26746,24038748-5016380,00.html

    • Andrew, while it is silly to argue who is hotter, my point has never been that all Western girls are not as pretty as Slavic and Hungarian girls. There are some exceptions. It is that on average Russian girls are much prettier.

      Certainly, among hundreds of Western tennis players there are some pretty ones. So, you found one in Ashley. But she is hardly a competitor to Sharapova. Ashley has accomplished nothing in tennis, having won no tournament and having never gone anywhere in Grand Slams. In fact, in most Grand Slams, she didn’t even qualify to play.

      Even Anna Kournikova (who is much hotter imho) looks like the biggest tennis superstar compared to Ashley, whose only “claim to fame” is her being the first tennis player to pose nude for Playboy. Speaking of whores….

  10. So Tom, not all US girls are fat, just like not all Russian girls are whores.

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